Initial Statement to underpin the development of a National Action Plan to Prevent Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment in Australia

  1. Alongside the undisputed ability of healthcare to extend human life and ameliorate suffering, there is growing evidence and concern about the problem of too much medicine. Overdiagnosis and the related overuse of medical tests and treatments not only causes harm, but also divert resources from addressing underdiagnosis and undertreatment
  2. There is need in Australia to identify the causes of too much medicine, the extent of the problem, and to develop responses to address it
  3. There is an urgent need to better inform consumers, clinicians, decision-makers and the public about the evidence for, and the consequences of, overdiagnosis and related overtreatment, as part of a broader approach to inform people about the potential harms, as well as the benefits of medical tests and treatments
  4. Expanding disease definitions and lowering diagnostic thresholds are recognised as one driver of the problem, and the processes for changing definitions require meaningful reform
  5. We are committed to evaluation, to ensure that attempts to address too much medicine are both safe and fair for healthcare consumers and their families, and in turn help to optimise the Australian health system’s safety, efficiency and equity of access

What next?

A national summit was held in July 2017 to develop a National Action Plan to address these issues, and future details will be available in the coming months…

Endorsees

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Consumers Health Forum of Australia
Consumers Health Forum of Australia
Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists
Cancer Council Australia
Cancer Council Australia
Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians
Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians
Critical and Ethical Mental Health research group, Robinson Research Institute
Critical and Ethical Mental Health research group, Robinson Research Institute
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
Australian Rheumatology Association
Australian Rheumatology Association
Australian Physiotherapy Association
Australian Physiotherapy Association

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