The State of Medicine

Keeping the Promise of the NHS

The State of Medicine
DES gets special discussion in chapter about poor quality/non existent evidence gathering.

The National Health Service is ‘the closest thing the UK has to a national religion‘. No wonder: it has worked secular miracles. Before the NHS, sick children could not see a doctor before a sixpence was handed over. People died of whooping cough and tuberculosis, illnesses we now scarcely see. When the NHS was founded, almost 70 years ago, people in the UK lived less than 50 years on average – a lifespan which has almost doubled. No matter how poor we are, our health care is included with British citizenship. But the NHS has also been accused of high death rates, lazy and uncaring staff, dirty hospitals and unbridgeable funding gaps. Every politician claims to know how to save the NHS.

Margaret McCartney argues differently. She believes that the NHS is world class: but politicians have to stop micromanaging based on faith in their own political beliefs and instead base decisions on evidence. Patients and professionals working together to deliver an evidence-based NHS is the only future – if we want our NHS to survive.

DES gets special discussion in chapter about poor quality/non existent evidence gathering.

DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

The Patient Paradox

Why Sexed-Up Medicine is Bad for Your Health

The Patient Paradox, Book by @MgtMcCartney on Flickr
Too much testing (of well people) can do more harm than good…

Margaret McCartney is diligent enough to dig deep into the evidence, brave enough to name names where necessary and lucid enough to capture a concept in a memorable sentence.

Welcome to the world of sexed-up medicine, where patients have been turned into customers, and clinics and waiting rooms are jammed with healthy people, lured in to have their blood pressure taken and cholesterol, smear test, bowel or breast screening done.

In the world of sexed-up medicine pharmaceutical companies gloss over research they don’t like and charities often use dubious science and dodgy PR to ‘raise awareness’ of their disease, leaving a legacy of misinformation in their wake. Our obsession with screening swallows up the time of NHS staff and the money of healthy people who pay thousands to private companies for tests they don’t need. Meanwhile, the truly sick are left to wrestle with disjointed services and confusing options.

Explaining the truth behind the screening statistics and investigating the evidence behind the hype, Margaret McCartney, an award-winning writer and doctor, argues that this patient paradox – too much testing of well people and not enough care for the sick – worsens health inequalities and drains professionalism, harming both those who need treatment and those who don’t. “

More Information:

On Flickr®