Friday, March 01, 2013

The Patient Paradox

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.

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