Clinicians question evidence for Gordon Brown’s screening programme

The National Screening Committee says there is not enough evidence to back Gordon Brown’s screening programme for cardiovascular disease in England.

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown

The prime minister’s announcement was also branded ‘inconsistent’ and ‘populist’ by the GPC.

On Monday, Mr Brown announced plans for an NHS screening plan to be available for all patients in England by 2011.

Under the proposal, all patients regardless of age or risk profile, would be eligible for tests for diabetes, chronic kidney disease (CKD), chronic lung diseases, cardiovascular disease and stroke risk. Diagnostic tests to be made available at GP surgeries include ultrasound electrocardiograms and a range of blood tests.

Mr Brown said the services would be available ‘when you want and when you need them’.

But chairman of the National Screening Committee Dr Surendra Kumar, who is also a GP in Widnes, Cheshire, said the cost-effectiveness and efficacy of such a programme is still unproven.

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