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Perhaps the GMC should perform a self-examination?



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I love doing the irony, so here goes, even if it is a bit late. The GMC is spending lots of our hards-earned subs on private screening for its employees, courtesy of BMI healthcare.

I’ve just scanned, like many private screening medicals do, what’s on offer. And I’m particularly thrilled to note it includes ‘Breast cancer awareness’ and ‘testicular cancer awareness’.

For the avoidance of doubt, going by the words of BMI’s own health pages, the former means: ‘We recommend that you check your breasts a few days after your period… and get in the habit of looking and feeling for any change regularly.’

And for the latter: ‘Get into the habit of checking your testicles on a regular basis.’

I’m sure Duties of a Doctor says something about practising in an evidence-based way

Well, GMC/BMI healthcare, have I got a learning need for you.

Regular testicular self-examination is an entirely non evidence-based activity which is not recommended by authoritative screening bodies. And regular breast self-examination was discredited years ago on the basis that, not only is it ineffective, it actually causes harm through increasing anxiety and unnecessary biopsies.

Life’s too short to plough through GMC’s Duties of a Doctor, especially when I’ve got patients to not manslaughter, but I’m sure it says something about practising in an evidence-based way. So the GMC is, via its employer perk, encouraging medical activity which contravenes its own guidance. And I think this means I could report the GMC to the GMC.

Or, at the very least, make it aware that it has made a total tit/testicle of itself.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex