Women over 45 do not need a blood test to diagnose the menopause and X-rays are no real help to those with lower back pain, doctors in Britain have said as part of a campaign to reduce the number of unnecessary and costly medical treatments.
The advice, drawn up by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, features on a list of 40 treatments that bring little or no benefit to patients.
The list is part of a campaign to reduce the number of unnecessary medical treatments, the BBC reported today.
Patients are also encouraged to ask more questions about procedures. Medical experts from 11 different specialties were asked to identify five treatments or procedures commonly used in their field that were not always necessary or valuable. These have been used as part of the ‘Choose Wisely’ campaign to highlight the need for patients and doctors to talk frankly about how health issues should be treated.
Under this, people have been told that tap water is just as good for cleaning cuts and grazes as saline solution, small wrist fractures in children do not normally need a plaster cast, and will heal just as quickly with a removable splint and children with bronchiolitis, or breathing problems, usually get better without treatment.
The current list of treatments will be added to every year. The academy says there is evidence that patients often pressure doctors into prescribing or carrying out unnecessary treatments and the National Health Service is also coming under increasing pressure to reduce over-medicalisation – in other words the medicines and treatments it prescribes.
For some time now, General Practitioners have been advised to cut back on prescribing antibiotics to patients. Prof Dame Sue Bailey, chairwoman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, said, “Some of these treatments can be quite invasive, time-consuming; there are simpler and as-safe options, so why wouldn’t you?
“Because I think what we’ve got is a culture of ‘we can do something, therefore we should do something’ and we need to stop and reflect and decide what is the best option for the patient in their individual circumstances.”