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Along with medicine’s celebrated ability to heal the sick, there is growing global unease about its capacity to harm the healthy. Around the world there is increasing evidence that when it comes to healthcare, we are too often getting too much of a good thing. Along with saving lives, screening programmes are also diagnosing diseases that will never cause harm. Sophisticated technology like CT scans are being performed too often, unnecessarily raising risks of cancer. Overuse of pharmaceuticals, particularly among our elders, threatens health rather than enhances it. In response there are a growing number of initiatives to address medical excess – most notably the Choosing Wisely campaign launched by doctors and consumers in many nations, including Australia. Celebrated British GP, Dr Iona Heath is at the cutting edge of this new movement to wind back the harms of too much medicine, and her public lecture is one not to be missed.

Dr Iona Heath

Dr Iona Heath is the Past President of the Royal College of General Practitioners in the UK and has worked as an inner-city London GP since the 1970s. Iona has written regularly for one of the world’s leading medical journals, the British Medical Journal, and has contributed to many others. Since 2013 she’s helped organise a series of international scientific conferences called Preventing Overdiagnosis, and has a strong interest in helping people avoid the harms of medical excess. She also writes on justice, liberty, and the corrosive influence of the medical-industrial complex. Her book ‘Matters of Life and Death’ was published in 2007.