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NHS-funded homeopathy treatments ended at major UK hospital

The effectiveness of homeopathic remedies has been disputed for decades (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

One of the country’s leading homeopathy hospitals will no longer provide NHS-funded remedies.

The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine – formerly the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital – has been told it can no longer spend any public money on the treatments.

Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, has described homeopathy as “at best a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds”.

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Homeopathy is a system of alternative medicine based on the premise that “like cures like” – using specially prepared, highly diluted substances (given mainly in tablet form) with the aim of triggering the body’s own healing mechanisms.

For example, pollens might be used to offer a homeopathic treatment for hay fever. Critics argue treatments are little more than an expensive con.

NHS-funded homeopathy treatments are being blocked at a major London hospital (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

In a leaflet handed out to patients, the hospital says: “From 3rd April 2018, The Royal London
Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM) will no longer be providing NHS-funded homeopathic remedies for any patients as part of their routine care.

“This is in line with the funding policy of Camden Clinical Commissioning Groups, the local NHS body that plans and pays for healthcare services in this area.

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“Should you choose you will be able to purchase these medicines from the RLHIM pharmacy, while other homeopathic pharmacies may also be able to supply the medicines.”

The area of the NHS funding homeopathic remedies has been a controversial one for decades.

The NHS itself says that “there is no good-quality evidence that homeopathy is effective as a treatment for any health condition.”

The Good Thinking Society, which has campaigned for the NHS to stop spending money on homeopathy, told the BBC: “The only areas of the UK still wasting money on these disproven treatments are Bristol and Glasgow.”

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Meanwhile, the British Homeopathic Association said in a tweet: “When considering value for money, it should be remembered that if patients were not treated with the NHS homeopathy service, they would have to be treated by other NHS departments using more expensive conventional drugs.”

A petition it has organised calling for NHS England to stop withdrawing homeopathic remedies has attracted 34,118 signatures.