Private screenings. You in the blue movie business?
Very tasteful. No, we're talking about private health MOTs. The BMA is concerned.
Aren't the docs pleased about people monitoring their health?
The problem is lack of regulation.
To justify the high prices, screenings which are unreliable or even dangerous are being offered. CT scans, for example, involve significant radiation but have no obvious benefit in symptomless individuals.
Electrocardiograms and prostate specific antigen tests are also pretty unreliable when used raw rather than as part of a systematic diagnosis. Of course, most clinics don't offer these without reason but some do.
£450 is not unusual.
Wow. What do you get for your money?
Assuming you don't get any unnecessary tests, not a lot - apart from a cup of coffee while you wait.
They'll take pulse, height, weight, work out body mass index and inspect testicles all of which you are able — and might prefer — to do yourself.
They'll test cholesterol and urine which can be checked at your GP's or with far cheaper home kits. And they'll test blood — but that's free through your GP to anyone with even the slightest symptoms.
Better safe than sorry.
Not if it's a false sense of security. If you have a worrying symptom, it's better to discuss it with your GP rather than go for a general screening. If you don't have any specific worry, why waste your money?
Regular exercise is more useful than regular screening. If you're over 40, have a family history of heart problems or haven't taken exercise for a while, talk to your GP before starting exercise but a full health screen is unlikely to be necessary.
What should I spend my money on?
A good bike, decent walking boots or trainers, the sexiest swimming trunks in the shop - whatever it takes to get you exercising.
I'm not sure. Do they sprinkle chocolate on the coffee?
Page created on April 1st, 2006
Page updated on January 21st, 2010