spiked proposals: The NHS
As GPs highlight a 'crisis' in their profession, Dr Michael Fitzpatrick makes some positive suggestions for improving the health service.
- A 10-point programme for the NHS
The NHS provides the framework through which much of the government’s social policy is now delivered. After four years of increasing state intervention in the health service, the way forward lies through the abandonment of many of these initiatives.
Here are 10 straightforward ways to improve primary healthcare, by rolling back the advance of a wide range of intrusive and authoritarian programmes.
- Health promotion. As everybody now knows that smoking and drinking excessively are bad for them, and that a balanced diet and exercise are good for them, it is unnecessary – and pompous – for doctors to keep telling them so.
- Screening tests. Screening tests for cervical and breast cancer are better at provoking anxiety than they are at saving lives; screening for prostate cancer, which is now being piloted, is even more unreliable and of even more questionable preventive value.
Dr Michael Fitzpatrick is the author of MMR and Autism, Routledge, 2004 (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)); and The Tyranny of Health: Doctors and the Regulation of Lifestyle, Routledge, 2000 (buy this book from Amazon UK or Amazon USA). He is also a contributor to Alternative Medicine: Should We Swallow It? Hodder Murray, 2002 (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)).
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