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Cut useless medical treatments, says Audit Commission

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d2438 (Published 13 April 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2438
  1. Helen Mooney
  1. 1London

Cutting the number of treatments that have low clinical value would save the NHS £500m (€562m; $814m) a year, a briefing from the Audit Commission says.

The figures show what the NHS could save if it carried out fewer ineffective and inefficient treatments. The savings should be spent on treatments that have been shown to work, it says.

The commission looked at several primary care trusts’ efforts to decommission treatments that offer low clinical value and found that there was a wide variation in the approaches they took, and in the treatments they targeted.

Examples of the types of treatments that are deemed no longer necessary include:

  • those considered to be relatively ineffective such as tonsillectomy;

  • those where more cost effective alternatives are available, such as heavy menstrual bleeding—the treatment often used …

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