The ideas are coming thick and fast. Especially thick. With Putinesque belligerence, Sajid Javid has announced a war on cancer. And we all know how well these tub-thumping campaigns tend to pan out – remember ‘Defeat Depression?’ Exactly.
The recent headlines summarising a key secret weapon in this war amount to: ‘Your country needs YOU…to go and get a scan.’ Because, according to reports, Mr Javid is planning ‘on-the-spot’ access to CTs and MRIs for the worried well/slightly ill at football grounds and shopping centres.
There are too many things wrong with this deranged idea for me to properly articulate within the word count of this blog. But it probably is worth pointing out that All-U-Can eat scanning sits uncomfortably with another front of the same war: the great elective care plan.
In case you hadn’t heard, secondary care has a mountain of cancer-related care to catch up on. And indiscriminate scanning, or even over-selling the value of CTs and MRIs to an already scanophilic public, is not the way to go about it. Why? Off the top of my head, because of the generation of incidentalomas, the prolongation but not necessarily beneficial prolongation of cancer lead time, the creation of anxiety, the unnecessary diversion of kit, staff and resources and the exposure of the population to increasing amounts of potentially cancer-inducing radiation (hilariously).
Or, put simply, you don’t solve a log-jam by adding more logs. But maybe Javid’s intimidating accumulation of medical hardware in public places is just a show of NHS strength which will amount to nothing. But I’ll get Macron to give him a call just in case.
Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of Copperfield’s blogs at http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/views/copperfield