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The strange knocking sound you can hear is GPs everywhere banging their heads on the table in frustration. By the authors’ own admission the recommendation is weak due to the minor evidence of benefit, and the suggestion that costs will be small because corticosteroids are cheap completely disregards the costs of providing a GP consultation.
GPs have spent years advising patients that normal sore throats are a minor price to pay for the joy of being alive, and should not require professional help. The suggestion that the consultations will take place anyway is indefensible as the perception that there is a prescription-only treatment available will encourage attendance, and within a system like the NHS that will inevitably deny consultations to patients with genuine needs.
We live in an era of over-diagnosis, over-treatment, and over-reliance on doctors, and the conclusions in the paper will, if enacted, do nothing to improve the physical or indeed mental health of the population, which surely should be medicine’s ultimate aim.
No competing interests
23 September 2017
GP, Clinical and Prescribing Policy Lead, GP Committee, BMA
The Hedon Group Practice
The Hedon Group Practice, Market Hill House, Hedon, East Yorkshire