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Doctors leaders back demand for ‘prudent healthcare’

Doctors leaders have backed a call for a culture of ‘prudent healthcare’.

Speaking at the Welsh NHS Confederation annual conference last week, Welsh health and social services
minister Mark Drakeford (pictured right) said clinicians should focus on doing the minimum necessary to benefit patients.

He said limiting interventions could help ‘get the maximum value for every pound you spend in the NHS’.

Professor Drakeford said: ‘It means starting with the things that are the most basic, most proven and most likely
to work. And you try those first. And if those things don’t work then of course you move on.

‘What research studies show is that, while the health service sets out to do good in people’s lives, it doesn’t always succeed.’

Margin of error

He said studies showed ‘that almost 20 per cent of what every modern health service does either does no good or does harm’.

‘Every health board has lists of procedures they don’t normally offer because they’re not effective. What I want to do is make that a national list so we do this on a concerted national basis.’

BMA Welsh secretary Richard Lewis said: ‘This is an entirely appropriate challenge to the public and the profession to move to prudent medicine.’

He said if the NHS was to maintain sustainable services in the future, the public also needed to take responsibility for their own health, particularly around areas such as obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption and exercise.