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Life checks won't work

From Dr Amanda Lindsay, Leeds

So let me get this straight. Patients with early Alzheimer's are not to be prescribed medication because the available evidence does not support it. So far, so reasonable.

But the whole healthy population is to be offered health checks to determine their likelihood of developing heart disease, cancer and diabetes because 75 per cent of 1,000 ordinary members of the public surveyed at a Birmingham consultation exercise 'thought it would be a good idea'.

There is to be no NICE analysis of available data as to whether this is likely to be effective, or even, heaven forfend, cost-effective! These nice middle-class, health-conscious people, who are the ones most likely to turn up and who could probably afford to have them done privately, have decided they would like the NHS to provide this service and so the NHS will provide it, come what may!

The checks won't be compulsory, so those who need it most won't be coming for them.

Clearly, Patricia Hewitt has never heard of the inverse care law ­ but guess who will be expected to provide them?

Why doesn't she just send us some brooms to put up our proverbial nether regions so we can clean up the hospitals while we are at it?

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