Another presentation at the Age UK Later Life Conference this year was a senior doctor giving some surprising, unusual and rather contradictory advice.
Dr Charles Alessi is Public Health England’s Lead Advisor for preventable diseases and also Chairman of the National Association of Primary Care. Here is the gist of his argument:-
- Modern medicine treats patients as conditions rather than people;
- Doctors should stop practicing medicine by body part which leads to over-prescribing of many drugs;
- Older patients need to be more resilient and take control of their illnesses by leading more active lives;
I would agree strongly with all of this but there is a big BUT:-
- It is surprising when you think that all his colleagues spend all their time giving out millions of go-away pills in ten minute consultations every day (except weekends and nights and some afternoons, that is);
- It is unusual to suggest that patients should take control when you should be able to trust your doctor to know best and not prescribe you things you do not need;
- It is contradictory to tell doctors not to treat body parts individually when they tell you in prominent notices in their surgeries “only one condition per consultation”.
The lady pictured in the cartoon is my friend “Pilly Galore” who I first commented on in a blog with that title on the 19 December 2010. Click in the Archive on that date to see the blog or click “PILLS” in the TAG CLOUD to see other blogs on this subject.
Dr Alessi is a rare voice of sanity in a health system of mixed messages but will anybody have time to listen?
Without more focus in the NHS on prevention rather than cure, patients will continue to live their ill-healthy lives.