Unwanted health checks and screening

Two letters in the bmj 6 September are about the health checks with which we are bombarded these days. http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5230?etoc=

Despite the evidence of little (or any) benefit and significant harms, despite doctors and members of the public speaking out in journals, some even writing books to try to call a halt (Margaret McCartney, Iona Heath, Michael Baum, Peter C Gotzsche and many, many others) these assaults continue unabated – as does breast screening, unchanged despite the Marmot Review and now one from the National Cancer Institute (see post ‘When is a Cancer Not a Cancer’, 5 August).

My response to the first letter, ‘Making the dilemma of universal health checks clear to patients’, Sarah L Wookey, swiftly drew 237 ‘likes’ – surely an indication that GPs do not want to carry out these checks or to harm patients?
http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5230?tab=responses

Yesterday I responded to the letter from Lasse T Krogsbøll, Karsten Juhl Jørgensen and Peter C Gøtzsche, ‘Universal health checks should be abandoned’ and, although that issue is now a week old, by this morning there were already 55 ‘likes’.
http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5227?tab=responses

Well people are being turned into patients and treated unnecessarily; patients with health conditions needing treatment, and even those harmed by NHS cancer treatments, cannot access the treatments they need – or it’s a postcode lottery decided by local commissioning groups (CCGs), when access should be routinely available.

I wonder if anyone has factored in the consequences of psychological fallout. But I suppose if, or when, mental health services become swamped (as currently with Accident and Emergency Services) the extra numbers of suicides resulting from turning a blind eye to need will cut down pressures on the NHS. And how many extra deaths will result because patients are no longer followed up after serious illness?

So is anyone still harbouring doubts about NHS back-door privatisation?

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About bmitzi

Medical writer, author, artist. Cancer campaigner. Aiming always to improve health services and bring compassion into health care.
This entry was posted in books, Breast Cancer, Campaigns, Compassion in healthcare, patient safety, Screening, Screening Mammography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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