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Common health treatments 'no use'

Press Association logoPress Association 24/10/2016 Helen William

Dozens of common treatments for a range of ailments are of little or no use, senior UK doctors say.

To help patients and doctors make the right decisions about care, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AMRC) has recorded 40 treatments or tests with the gentle warning that "more doesn't always mean better" - part of its Choosing Wisely UK campaign.

Using tap water to clean up cuts and grazes is just as good as a saline solution and a plaster cast isn't needed for some small wrist fractures in children who may find that a removable splint will help them to heal just as quickly, according to the AMRC advice from its medical royal colleges and facilities.

Another example is that X-rays do not help to deal with lower back pain if there are no other concerning features.

Lower back pain, prostate condition and terminal cancer are among the wide-ranging ailments which are also touched upon in this first wave of recommendations.

The advice notes that chemotherapy may be used to relieve terminal cancer symptoms but can also be painful, cannot cure the disease and may well bring further distress in the final months of life.

The advice comes after 82 per cent of doctors said they had prescribed or carried out a treatment which they knew to be unnecessary in a study carried out last year.

Patient pressure or patient expectation was given as the main reason, the AMRC noted.

The global campaign aims to cut down on over-medicalisation and to help provide the groundwork for a fully-informed conversation about the risks and benefits of treatments and procedures.

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