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The UK's primary care sustainability network

Too much treatment?

Tests, treatments and procedures are not always necessary and can do more harm than good.

The following video has a fun way of explaining this:

Medications are often necessary and help us to stay well. You should never stop or change your medications without speaking to a healthcare professional. When people are on lots of medications this can lead to harmful drug interactions and difficulty with taking the medications correctly. This is known as problematic polypharmacy. Annual medical reviews are good opportunities to discuss the need for regular medications with your healthcare provider based on your particular needs and goals. You can use this review to tell your healthcare provider about any difficulties with taking your medication, any uncertainties or questions, and to decide together which treatments are still worthwhile for you.

Most of the carbon emissions in primary care come from our clinical care, so making sure that what we do is evidence-based, person-centred and free from harm is one of the most useful things we can to make sure healthcare is better for patients and planet.

The Choosing Wisely initiative encourages patients and doctors to have conversations to make shared decisions on investigations and treatments based on the best evidence and each individual’s circumstances and needs.

At all times of our lives it is worth thinking about What Matters to You, to help guide good conversations with your healthcare provider. What matters to us changes as we go through different experiences in our lives. Here is a guide for patients on having a “What Matters to You” conversation with their health care provider.

If you want to read a little bit more about this, Ben Goldacre’s book “I Think You’ll Find It’s a Bit More Complicated Than That” is a collection of his “Bad Science” column articles from the Guardian.