By Cariline Struthers in Health Watch.
“First Do No Harm”, the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review focusing on three drug/devices aimed at women (aka the Cumberlege report) was published on 8 July 2020.(1) It should have welcome implications for much-needed change in the way patients are treated.
Two of the review’s proposals are that there be a new Patient Safety Commissioner and Redress Agency established. However, they would only look at harms from “medicines and medical devices”. The review did not consider potential harms to patients from psychosocial and behavioural interventions which are still widely recommended within the NHS for the ever-expanding range of patients who find themselves in the “medically unexplained symptoms” (MUS) swamp. Currently, patients with a range of unexplained conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis) and irritable bowel syndrome would fall under the UK Government-funded IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) remit.(2) The inclusion of MUS patients under IAPT signifies a massive expansion of its coverage, far beyond the patients with common mental health complaints where it originated. The benefit of this expansion to MUS patients is doubtful.(3)
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