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Should Health Screening be Private?

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 29 May 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1494
  1. John Cairns, director
  1. Health Economics Research Unit, University of Aberdeen

    Jim Thornton

    Institute of Economic Affairs, £5.60, pp 78

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    ISBN 0255364512

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    The NHS should stop screening for breast and cervical cancer. Indeed, the NHS should offer screening only in very limited circumstances, such as for adults only when the screening is of undisputed cost effectiveness and these adults could not otherwise afford it. Jim Thornton reaches these controversial conclusions largely because of his belief that consumers are the only people able to judge whether the benefits of screening outweigh the potential side effects. One consequence …

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