Flexible approach required to reducing “low value” treatments

Sat, 30 June 2018

National Voices responds to plans to curb ineffective or risky medical treatments.

NHS England has today set out plans to curb ineffective or risky medical treatments. The national body will consult on proposals to stop or reduce routine commissioning of 17 surgical interventions. 

The plans are the latest step in a programme to reduce “low value” medical treatments.

Commenting on the plans, Andrew McCracken from National Voices said:

It is right that the NHS push for greater value for money, but decisions about what is ‘low value’ can only be made in partnership with the patient whose life will be affected.

When given the full range of treatment options, including the benefits and risks of each, evidence shows that most patients choose less invasive – and therefore lower cost – treatments.

As was recently recommended by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, doctors should make clear to patients the benefits, risks, and alternatives of any treatment, as the basis for a shared decision on the best way forward. A system that does not offer treatments unless you ask for them disadvantages those least equipped to ask.

While a treatment might not work well for all patients, it might work very well for some, so a flexible approach is required

For more information, contact Andrew McCracken on andrew.mccracken@nationalvoices.org.uk or 020 3176 0737.