Ban ineffective screening tests
I REFER to the reply from the Ministry of Health ("Why Medisave can't be used
for all screening tests"; Thursday) to Mr Arthur Lim's letter ("Allow use of
Medisave for more screening tests"; Monday). In the name of medical ethics,
the Ministry of Health should perhaps consider a ban on tests that are of
questionable effectiveness when used as screening tools.
Going by the phenomenal growth of some medical centres, and the increasing
complexity of some packages they offer, medical providers must be doing
a roaring business.
With some packages costing as much as $9,000, could it be that a large
proportion of tests in the packages are probably not recommended as screening
tools? And if they are, why are they even allowed to be there? Shouldn't
the public be protected from such practices?
(Addendum: I am not advocating banning these tests, some of which are useful
for patients recovering from cancer, to check for recurrences. I just hope that
this is a wake up call for both patients and doctors - patients to start asking
intelligent questions about the tests & procedures which they allow themselves
to be subjected to; and doctors to stop pushing some of these health screening
packages to laymen who may have the false impression that these tests magically
detect early cancer.
Wake up, people.)