Doctors are over-treating patients with drugs and therapies that don't work, and could even be making the problem worse. Typical examples include drugs for mild depression, routine blood tests that are unnecessary and pills for mildly-raised blood pressure.
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges is calling for a change in medical care, where the doctor doesn't feel pressured to 'just do something', and the patients should be encouraged to discuss simpler and safer options.
In addition, patients are also being labelled with conditions that may do them no harm, and certainly don't need medical intervention.
Dr Aseem Malhotra, a heart specialist who is the lead author of the report, stated: "Over-diagnosis and over-treatment are the products of a broken system. For the sake of our patients there needs to be a radical overhaul in culture so we can provide the best-quality care."
Instead of pills, people with mild depression could use one of the 'talking therapies', while those with mild hypertension (raised blood pressure) could change their lifestyle and diet.
(Source: BMJ, 2015; 350: h2308)