Dear Public Health England/Scotland/my GP

Thank you for inviting me for an NHS Health Check.

Your invitation letter says that this is “helping you prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.”

However, there is no randomised controlled evidence that this is the case.

There is evidence that population screening like this results in overtreatment and overdiagnosis.

You have provided me with no data on which to make an informed choice based on the best evidence available.

I also understand that the NHS is going to look at the data generated by the Health Checks and then decide whether they are a good idea or not.

It seems that I am being invited into an uncontrolled experiment without being given clear information about the benefits and harms. This is the wrong way to generate scientifically reliable data.

In order to protect my health, I am only willing to take part in a Health Check if I am invited as part of a fair, randomised controlled trial with ethical committee approval; if I receive evidence based information allowing me to make an informed choice, and if the results will be fully published and independently analysed.

Additionally, it appears that my GP is inviting me for a Health Check; in fact my GP did not send this letter. I consider this to be a distortion of the facts.

Yours sincerely

3 Responses to “Dear Public Health England/Scotland/my GP”

  1. Keith Walker August 21, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    I think these checks also cause a good deal of anxiety if you don’t want them. It stems from the suspicion that, should you suffer one of the illnesses they are supposed to help you to prevent, you will be regarded as to blame. And the treatment you receive might reflect this. It isn’t possible to determine whether this will be true, and I don’t want the anxiety over it.

  2. JayZ September 4, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    What are you complaining about ?

    Advances in screening tech has made it possible to diagnose various conditions in advance so they can be treated. All of us pay our NI so that everyone can benefit from ongoing advances. I myself have been trying to get a health test arranged but I do not qualify – I am not quite 40 but I checked several private clinics and it would cost me well above £1000 for these tests that you are being offered for free.

    Nobody will bother to give you the experimental evidence that you seek and I as an NI payer will heavily object if NHS spends even £1 to produce such “evidence”. The screening test machines are produced by companies employing educated scientists and engineers and the machines are sold in a competitve marketplace – so you can rest assured they will work and produce reliable results.

    Go and have the tests done, it will benefit none other than yourself at the end.

  3. margaretadmin September 4, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    hello
    I can only think that you haven’t read the evidence about screening. Can I suggest you take a look at the private screens website, link to the right, have a read of the evidence on the post here, http://margaretmccartney.com/2013/07/15/the-summer-of-death-for-public-health/, The bottom line is that the science of screening is complex, and much of the evidence is counter-intuitive. Your faith in the screening industry is sadly misplaced.

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