The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has released a list of over 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.
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.
The advice suggests:
- 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
- Children with bronchiolitis, or breathing problems, usually get better without treatment
- Electronic monitoring of a baby’s heart is only needed during labour if the mother has a higher-than-normal risk of complications
- Chemotherapy may be used to relieve symptoms of terminal cancer but it cannot cure the disease and may well bring further distress in the final months of life
- Routine screening for prostate conditions using a test known as a Prostate Specific Antigen, or PSA test, does not lead to longer life and can bring unnecessary anxiety
The Academy says there is evidence that patients often pressure doctors into prescribing or carrying out unnecessary treatments and the NHS is also coming under increasing pressure to reduce over-medicalisation – in other words the medicines and treatments it prescribes.
Alongside this list, for some time now, GPs have also been advised to cut back on prescribing antibiotics to patients. This will surely be a driver in the OTC market as patients may turn to self-medication if they are unable to get what they require under prescription.