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PostPosted: 18 Jun 2018 20:50 
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As the National Health Service is struggling with the increasing costs of patient care, researchers are trying to find ways to cut the cost of treatment. Researchers from the Department of Surgery and Cancer, found 71 commonly performed procedures or practices that are of high-cost but low-value to patients, which could be stopped.

They include hernia repair operations for people with few symptoms, which currently cost the NHS £28 million a year, but do little to make people feel better. Likewise using CT scans to diagnose appendicitis was found to have little benefit above and beyond the traditional blood tests and hands-on pressure checks by doctors. Scrapping them could save the health service four million pounds, the report found.

The team also discovered that robotic surgery has ‘little or no advantage’ when compared with traditional keyhole operations and said it must be ‘considered a candidate for disinvestment.’ There is also no evidence to show that infections can be prevented by surgical masks, even though they cost the health service £150,000 a year.

Dozens of Da Vinci robots were bought by the NHS but there is little evidence they are cheaper or better than humans Writing in the British Journal of Surgery, surgeon Humza Malik, of Imperial College London, said: “An expected £30 billion funding gap is expected by 2020 in the NHS.

The researchers, who studied 1,500 paper into the benefits of procedures, found that surgeons were overusing endoscopes. Doctors regularly use the cameras to check in the stomach, bowel or throat for evidence of cancer even when a diagnosis is unlikely.

They estimated that unnecessary endoscopic procedures are currently costing the NHS nearly £42 million a year. Switching to a better method of gallstone removal called an index cholecystectomy, which prevents complications, could also save £72 million a year, including £13 million in readmissions. Ditching enemas before colorectal surgery could also save almost £100,000 a year.

A Royal College of Surgeons spokesperson added:“NHS finances are currently stretched to their absolute limits, so it is important that surgeons look carefully at how they can improve efficiency and scale back surgical interventions that deliver little benefit to patients.

"While the authors of this study have focused on general surgery, the principles could probably apply to every surgical specialty."

Extract from a report by Sarah Knapton of The Telegraph

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