Treatments doctors say you don’t need

As part of my research into Choosing Wisely I have been looking into some treatments that doctors say we do not need. 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.

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.

One of the treatment state that 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 according to the doctors.

The advice includes:

  • 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 list is part of a campaign to reduce the number of unnecessary medical treatments.

Patients are also encouraged to ask more questions about procedures.

The current list of treatments will be added to every year.


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