Saturday, July 2, 2011

Do it yourself doctoring

A British bioethics centre has launched a new study, and is seeking input.

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics is looking into whether at home testing and diagnostic services make the general practitioner, or family doctor, unnecessary.

Lead researcher Professor Christopher Hood, from the University of Oxford, said: "Cutting out GPs may sometimes be a good thing, providing us with convenience, privacy and control over our health."

"But there is not much regulation of these new services and we may be getting information that causes more harm than good."

Nuffield hopes to publish recommendations next spring to help people sort through such services and understand better how to use them.

The Council would like to hear the views of a wide range of people, including those using or contemplating using these services, those involved in providing them in the public and private context, researchers, academics, regulators, policy makers and others. Responses to the consultation will be carefully considered, and a report setting out the Council’s findings will be published in spring 2010.

The deadline for submissions is July 21, 2009. Here's how to submit, from the Nuffield web site:

It would be most helpful if you could send your response to us electronically. Responses can be submitted online via our dedicated consultation website:

Alternatively, you can email your response together with the respondent’s form to:

If we receive your response electronically, there is no need for you also to send a paper copy. You will receive an acknowledgement of your response. If you would prefer to respond by post or by fax, you may send your completed response and respondent’s form to:

Tom Finnegan Nuffield Council on Bioethics 28 Bedford Square London WC1B 3JS UK Fax: +44 (0)20 7637 1712 Telephone +44 (0)20 7681 9619 Email:

Home diagnostics today go far beyond drug store pregnancy tests, as I reported a year ago, and include sending blood or stool samples through the mail to diagnose everything from heart disease to cancer (for a fee), and getting your diagnosis through a secure web site.

The Nuffield study hopes to guide us through that new world.


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