Are we wasting money on care that patients don’t want?

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In this blog, Anna Dixon cites evidence that when patients are systematically given information and supported to make a decision about their treatment, the population intervention rates have been shown to be dramatically lower, yet only half of patients say they were always involved in decisions about their care.

She sets out how commissioning decisions are informed by assessments of need made by experts – by public health specialists at population level and by doctors at individual level – and that clinical assumptions are made about the right level of treatment for the level of need in the population.

Despite this there is huge variation in the rates of intervention, suggesting that for some procedures, some of the variation could reflect over-provision of services, rather than under-provision. As a result, the NHS must focus on the quality of decision making in care.

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