Worried about your cholesterol, blood glucose, cystic fibrosis, ovulation? No need to go and bother a doctor, when you can worry all by yourself. Why not swap long waits in the doctor's surgery, or Private Health insurance premiums, for a quick mouthwash, a drop of blood from a finger, or the ubiquitous urine test. Homes tests are currently being developed to allow self-diagnosis of killer diseases like cancer, osteoporosis and HIV. But is this DIY culture something to celebrate? Isn't it rather like charity, an idea which sidelines concern for the state of the NHS?

Few dispute the usefulness of home-testing kits for pregnancy - especially when they are 99 per cent accurate, and the home Persona fertility test has increased the number who need tests. But manufacturers can hardly blame the customers for not reading the instructions correctly, that is like a doctor fluffing a simple procedure. One can imagine the rise in hypochondria, when you can constantly and easily indulge in all those health fears. A home testing HIV kit is hardly a substitute for the support you would receive at a specialised clinic. Don't dump your doctor... leave the home kits on the shelf.

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