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GPs Told to cut out Needless NHS Treatments by Medical Royal Colleges

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AMRC) that represents all 21 medical royal colleges in the UK has launched its ‘Choosing Wisely’ initiative, which aims to cut down over-medicalisation and unnecessary treatments with recommendations for clinicians to follow.

Senior medics have listed 40 common treatments and procedures, its says is of little or no benefit to patients. The Academy has provided new guidance to both patients and clinicians to deliver more effective treatment to the patients. The guidance is set out after more than 80 % of doctors said they had recommended or carried out a treatment they knew to be unnecessary because of feeling pressure from patients.

The guidance set out by the AMRC, features on a list of 40 unnecessary treatments that bring no benefits to patients. The list is part of a campaign to reduce the number of needless medical treatments. Here are list of some treatment, which are set unnecessary in the AMRC guidance:

  • X-rays and plaster casts are not always useful in some patients' cases.
  • Using plain tap water is just as good as saline solution to clean cuts.
  • Children with breathing problems or bronchiolitis, usually get better without treatment.
  • Electronic monitoring of a baby’s heart is only necessary during labour if the mother has a higher-than-normal risk of complications

These are just few examples on the list of 40 common unnecessary treatments and assessments. Besides listing treatment to avoid, the guidance also encourage patient to ask following questions to their clinician about their treatment.

  • Do I really need the treatment or procedure?
  • What are the possible side effects?
  • Are there any easier, safer options?
  • What are the risks or dangers?
  • What will happen if I do nothing?

The Chair of Royal College of General Practitioners, Professor Maureen Baker, defined the report as "a dose of common sense". She said the guidance shows many illnesses and conditions can be treated effectively and quickly without needing to see a GP, meaning that GP can give their valuable time to those patients who actually need the expert skills.

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