Letters Too much medicine campaign

GPs—Do you want to join the debate on overdiagnosis?

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f1728 (Published 19 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1728
  1. Julian S Treadwell, general practitioner1
  1. 1NHS Bath and North East Somerset, St Martin’s Hospital, Bath BA2 5RP, UK
  1. juliantreadwell{at}nhs.net

The BMJ must be applauded for taking a lead on overdiagnosis,1 an increasing problem in most areas of medicine in the developed world. This complex and multifaceted problem was summarised eloquently by Moynihan and colleagues.2

We feel the consequences of overdiagnosis keenly in British general practice, where a huge part of our workload now revolves around the implementation and fallout of systematic population based screening and risk factor modification. Many of us are wondering if things are getting a little out of hand.

Overdiagnosis and overtreatment arrive as unwelcome guests alongside intended and valuable diagnosis and treatment, and the difficulty lies in separating the two. An interest in preventing overdiagnosis does not imply therapeutic nihilism.

A group of interested GPs is beginning a conversation with the Royal College of General Practitioners on how primary care can contribute to this debate. We would like to hear from GPs interested in getting involved (juliantreadwell{at}nhs.net).


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1728


  • Competing interests: None declared.