Doctors to withhold treatments in campaign against ‘too much medicine’ (UK)

The Guardian 12 May 2015
Doctors are to stop giving patients scores of tests and treatments, such as x-rays for back pain and antibiotics for flu, in an unprecedented crackdown on the “over-medicalisation” of illness.

In a move that has roused fears that it will lead to the widespread rationing of NHS care, the body representing the UK’s 250,000 doctors is seeking to ensure that patients no longer undergo treatment that is unlikely to work, may harm them and wastes valuable resources.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges wants to bring an end to a culture of “too much medicine” in which “more is better” and doctors feel compelled to always “do something”, often because they feel under pressure from the patient, even though they know that the treatment recommended will probably not work.

Many patients with asthma, prostate and thyroid cancers, and chronic kidney disease already undergo “unnecessary care” because they are “over-diagnosed” and thus “over-treated”, the academy claims.

In a major change to patients’ relationships with their doctors, it will try and persuade the sick to stop expecting to automatically receive some form of medical intervention, such as drugs or surgery.

In future, doing nothing for the patient may be the best thing to do for them, according to the academy.