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CAMHS won't see you now

Patients will start dying because we’re too busy trying to keep people healthy

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Great news ladies and gents. Diabetes screening, or rather screening for the potential to become diabetic – yes, that’s like screening for evidence of existence – is getting every closer to being a contractual requirement.

That’s good, because it gives us something to do with that spare millisecond we have left between screening for alcohol problems, screening for dementia, screening for cardiovascular risk, screening for hypertension, screening for likelihood of unplanned admission, screening for cervical cancer, screening for depression and anxiety, and screening for people who’ve not been subjected to any form of screening within the last fortnight.

This is not a particularly original thought, but it’s one which bears repetition and, let’s face it, shouting, so here goes: WE ARE REACHING THE POINT WHERE OUR IMPOSED PUBLIC HEALTH ROLE MEANS WE DO NOT HAVE TIME TO SEE THE SICK. And that is why patients are having to wait for weeks to see and us, and why the Government is insisting that we work 36 hours a day, 12 days per week.

Please GPC, Pulse, National Screening Committee, national media, God, anyone, make the politicians see sense. Otherwise patients will start dying because we’re too busy trying to keep people healthy.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield 

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Readers' comments (21)

  • Screening is a problem well beyond just using up GPs time. If patients were given appropriate information, I suspect far fewer would present.

    A good start from the Harding Centre for Risk Literacy:

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  • screening for people who’ve not been subjected to any form of screening within the last fortnight

    lets just call all the pts : ask them to book an appt and screen them for anything and everything, any concerns, annoyance , risk of video games (recent study proved.... as if it wasnt obvious) , future risk of financial and social problems &&&&&&& put plans in place so that it can be avoided rather than

    1. public learning whats health for them to eat/not
    2. sedentary lifestyle vs exercise
    3. smoking or not to
    4. alcohol abuse or learn to stay within limits
    5. parently education to make sure children are given a balanced diet.
    6. look after yourself

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  • Round my way the default answer to a screening consultation including the inevitable sentence your risk of x is y is "so what?". Occasionally one of the more enlightened punters will pipe up " but my risk of dying is still 100%, right Doc?". Has anyone actually asked the public if they want this stuff? And if, by consequence they'd be willing to see longer waits to see their GP?. Most patients I know want speedy access when they become ill, not endless invites in to discuss the relative merits of beer, fags, pizza and laying supine on a sofa as a lifestyle choice. Those few neurotic middle class health obsessives can go and bore some poor Nuffield nurse to death about their Hba1c of 40 if they want, but the NHS just can't fund this anymore. Personal responsibility, people. I thought Tories were into that?

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  • Whats interesting is that the limits for things like diabetes, that is Hba1C and cholesterol etc seem to get lower all the time with little or no evidence behind them. Quite how 6.5% was decided as abnormal is beyond me, but I am fairly sure the Yanks and various drug companies had a say. Also I'm pretty sure being 85 with a cholesterol of 6, hba1c of 7% and a BP of 150/90 is normal not pathological and doesn't require treatment.
    I dread to think what I'll have to do in 50 years to end my life (at a reasonable 79), I'm thinking the White Cliffs of Dover in Spring, though I'm sure some new health and safety executive will put a net beneath it and a barrier around it.

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  • Hope you've all read "Suddenly Sick" - ?

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  • Vinci Ho

    This word 'screening' is a Newspeak Language:
    Forget the old , well known WHO/Wilson criteria , false positives or false negatives etc. Big Brother believes the old language is corrupting the nation...,.

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  • "get" the patient to make lifestyle changes what universe dose this wor

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  • doctors tend the sick

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  • "doctors tend the sick"

    Thank you insomniac Anon 2.10am for that wonderful piece of nostalgia. I'm getting all teary-eyed as it takes me back....

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  • My perspective I am not having details of my **** and **** recorded. monitored on some DH government database ie the NHAIS Exeter System and sent to Jeremy H.

    Patients consent is not obtained prior to screening to their intimate details being held on a DH central government database NHAIS Exeter System with details potentially available to Jeremy H so no fair processing under the DPA.

    Juliette Patnick Director of UK Cancer Screening got very twitchy a while back when I challenged her on this. I asked her where was the fair processing under the DPA wehich is still needed even though screening is covered by Sec 251.

    There is nothing on the GMS1 when patients register where they can give their consent to the secondary uses of data for these purposes and the GP Contract/QOF.

    Personally its easier to go without a GP it gives me hypertension thinking of this nonsense. The Public Health agenda needs reining in. I know of patients not registering with a GP due to these issues .

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From: Copperfield

Dr Tony Copperfield is a jobbing GP in Essex with more than a few chips on his shoulder