This site is intended for health professionals only

Leading doctor warns of worsening NHS postcode lottery

10 June 2010

Share this article

A leading doctor has warned that scientific advances in health are fuelling a postcode lottery for care – a situation that is in danger of worsening.

Lord Patel, who has more than 20 years’ experience in health and social care as a practitioner, manager, policymaker and academic, claims there is already “great variation” in screening for genetic disorders across the UK.

He is in favour of introducing validated tests to ensure that effective treatments are used across the NHS.

In a Lords debate on a genomic medicine report by a group of peers, he said: “In the world of competing priorities and cost savings, how are the advances in genetics going to be translated in clinical practice?”

“Scientific advances will lead to the identification of newer drugs allowing for treatment of more diseases and the identification of patients most likely to benefit from treatment.

“Without the introduction of validated tests, effective treatments across the whole of the NHS will not occur.

“A postcode lottery in the provision of care will develop as it already has in relation to the use of currently available genetic tests for single-gene diseases.”

Copyright © Press Association 2010