Senior Doctors Release List of 40 Ineffective Treatments to Prevent Unnecessary Procedures

October 25th, 2016
Senior Doctors Release List of 40 Ineffective Treatments to Prevent Unnecessary Procedures

Senior doctors in the UK have released a list of forty ineffective treatments in a bid to prevent unnecessary procedures.

Doctors from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges have compiled the list as part of a campaign that aims to encourage communication between doctors and patients to determine the best treatment options for health problems. The Choose Wisely campaign is designed to cut down on unnecessary procedures and improve communication between patients and health professionals.

The academy believes that some doctors feel pressure to prescribe drugs or recommend treatments that are not likely to be beneficial. There is also a concern that the NHS is under pressure to reduce the amount of treatments it recommends.

The aim of the list is to highlight issues that don’t require treatment or those that rarely benefit from treatment. Examples include plaster casts for children with very minor wrist fractures and revision of PSA (prostate specific antigen) testing for men. The report also suggests that tap water can be used to clean grazes and only recommends electronic monitoring of a baby’s heart in high-risk cases where a mother has a higher than average chance of experiencing complications.

Patients have been urged to ask five key questions as part of the Choose Wisely campaign. These include:

  • Do I really need this treatment?
  • What are the risks?
  • Is there a chance of side-effects?
  • Are there safer options?
  • What could happen if I don’t have this treatment?

Chairwoman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Same Sue Bailey, explained that it’s positive for patients to ask questions because often, treatments aren’t hugely beneficial and there are safer and simpler options out there. Dame Bailey urged doctors to evaluate each case on an individual basis and to assess what course of action is best for the patient. There is a culture, she suggests, that because we have the means to do things, we must do them and this isn’t always right.

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