Homeopathy will only be made available on the NHS to patients in Bristol, north Somerset and south Gloucestershire in exceptional circumstances after policy-makers approved measures designed to keep costs under control.

Under the changes put in place by the governing body of Bristol, north Somerset and south Gloucestershire clinical commissioning group (BNSSG CCG), a clinician will be required to show why a patient is “clinically exceptional” before the controversial treatment can be approved by the CCG’s individual funding request panel.

“The decision comes after the publication of a report, which took evidence from local people, clinicians, patient groups, providers of homeopathic treatments and national guidelines,” said BNSSG CCG who revealed that 41 patients receiving NHS-funded homeopathic consultations in the area cost the local NHS £109,476 in 2017/2018.

CCG clinical chair Dr Jonathan Hayes said: “We are working hard to become an evidence-informed organisation because we need to make the best use of all resources to offer treatment and care to the widest range of people. The decision on homeopathy funding today is a step towards this and brings us in line with national guidelines.”

The efficacy of homeopathy has been questioned in recent years, notably by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society who have expressed concerns about a lack of scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of homeopathic medicines.