Patients are suffering needlessly after surgery because of inadequate treatment for pain and old-fashioned ideas of medical staff, according to a report published by the Royal College of Surgeons and the College of Anaesthetists. The report, Pain After Surgery, which estimated that 75 per cent of surgical patients suffer severe pain, said: 'Conventional methods of relieving pain after surgery are ineffective in many patients, and associated with significant side-effects'.
As many as 250 cases of fatal cancer each year are caused by unnecessary x-rays, according to the Royal College of Radiologists and the National Radiological Protection Board. The two bodies produced a set of guidelines which they figure would cut exposure to radiation by half without affecting the quality of care. The report estimated that at least one-fifth of all x-rays were unnecessary and that routine chest x-rays, x-rays to diagnose lower back pain and mammograms for low-risk women under 50 were all unnecessary.
Britain is becoming increasingly litigious. A study carried out by the Medical Protection Society, which investigated more than 1,600 claims for compensation for medical and dental malpractice, said that cases had increased 15 per cent over those of 1988.
In case you've noticed the hard-sell on the TV to get your children vaccinated, this is part of a lbl.5 million ad campaign mounted by the The Health Education Authority to increase take-up of the whooping cough (the 'P' of the DTP vaccine), which is still being resisted by one-quarter of all British parents. As part of the drive, Sir Donald Acheson, chief medical officer, was quoted as saying that the whooping cough vaccine is 'very much safer than it was five years ago. If there are effects which are actually due to the vaccine, they are so rare that they are impossible to number.' This is not the case with the manufacturers themselves. Lederle, for instance, puts the risk of permanent damage at about 1 in every 330, 000 recipients.