The NHS has announced a ban on homeopathy and herbal medicine as they say it is “misuse of scarce funds”.
Officials today ruled that the treatments are among dozens of medicines which should not be funded by the health service.
In the last five years, the NHS has spent almost £600,000 on homeopathic treatment, despite long running debate about whether alternative remedies work.
Today NHS England ruled that “at best homeopathy is a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds which could be better devoted to treatments that work.”
Health officials said cash-strapped clinical commissioning groups should no longer fund such medicines, along with 16 other classes of treatment classed as “low value” because they are ineffective or could easily be bought over the counter.
Proponants of homeopathy and herbal medicine include Prince Charles, and the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, is among those who have signed motions in favour of it.
NHS England said the changes aimed to save at least £250m a year.
Patients will be told to pay for their own treatment for dozens of common ailments, including indigestion, sore throats and athlete’s foot.
Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: “The NHS is probably the world’s most efficient health service, but like every country there is still waste and inefficiency that we’re determined to root out.