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New campaign to block NHS use of alternative therapies

A group of leading doctors and researchers is urging the NHS to stop funding 'unproven' complementary therapies such as homoeopathy.

A letter to the Times argued such remedies were a waste of money because there is no evidence to support their use.

The RCGP said it supported the campaign in principle, but that some complementary therapies had proven effective.

The campaign group has written to all 476 acute and primary care trusts demanding

only evidence-based therapies are provided free to patients.

The letter, authored by Professor Michael Baum, emeritus professor of surgery at University College London, said of homoeopathy: 'It is an implausible treatment for which over a dozen reviews have failed to produce convincing evidence of effectiveness.'

Professor Edzard Ernst, director of complementary medicine at Peninsula Medical School in Exeter and a signatory to the letter, said: 'Some therapies are being taken into the NHS through pressure from people like Prince Charles, despite lack of evidence.'

Dr Graham Archard, chair of the RCGP complementary and alternative medicine action group, said: 'In an NHS with a fixed-cash envelope it is inappropriate to provide non-

evidence based therapies.' But he said some therapies such as acupuncture 'are now considered mainstream and have evidence-based effectiveness'.

The Department of Health said it was up to GPs and trusts to decide on therapies.

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