The British Medical Association (BMA) has called for homeopathic remedies to be banned on the NHS and removed from pharmacies where they are for sale as medicines.

Medics at a BMA conference voted overwhelmingly in favour of banning homeopathic remedies being funded by the NHS and withdrawing backing for the UK’s four homeopathic hospitals. They added that NHS doctors should not be given homeopathy training and remedies should be taken off shelves “labelled medicines” and put on shelves “labelled placebos”.

Homeopathic treatments have been funded by the NHS since it was formed in 1948 and are different to herbal medicine as they are based around substances being diluted many times, something the conference claimed has been proven not to work.

MPs said back in February that the NHS should withdraw funding on homeopathic treatments as there is no substantial evidence to show that they work any better than a placebo - the same as taking a sugar or dummy pill and believing it works. They also said the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) should not allow homeopathic medicines to carry medical claims on their labels.

London, Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow all house homeopathic hospitals in the UK. Estimates on how much the NHS spends on homeopathy vary, with the Society of Homeopaths putting the figure at £4 million a year including the cost of running hospitals.