In the last week the following news item shows how the media can dumb down an issue, and how the nuances of health (Wilsons Criteria) pass them by. Cancer of the cervix kills fewer and fewer, and those who die are mostly those who have had 3 or more pregnancies and over the age of 35. This does not mean that the screening fails for those under the target age, but it is a population measure, and the utility value decreases as the target group gets younger, Most young sexually active women <25 will not refuse a smear, so why not offer them one opportunistically? Then there is the issue of payment – why not charge for all tests for everyone except those who have never had one? Rational rationing is essential if we are to save OUR health services. And what about the men? Abdominal USS is a one off and seems to be one of the most cost effective screenings..
n2004, 5 minute smear tests were scrapped for 20-24 year olds. Since then the number of cervical cancer deaths of young women has soared
Consultant gynaecologist Angus McIndoe says NHS rationing is to blame
But the NHS argues that the disease is rare in those under 25 years,