Re: Pressed to test

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 55, No. 10, December 2013, Page 456 Letters

Dr Richardson’s excellent editorial on the GP’s dilemma, Pressed to test: How should GPs respond? [BCMJ 2013;55:312] and Dr Cunningham’s explorations on declining professionalism [Exploring professional relationships in medicine, BCMJ 2013;55:314] should awaken us to the urgent need to modernize our health care delivery system. The cost to society of unnecessary medical investigation is an outrage. Much of what now passes for health care is very expensive reassurance.

No individual practitioner is accountable for the cost he or she engenders or for the quality of care he or she delivers barring disastrous outcomes. Medical care is too important and too expensive to be left to the whim of individual practitioners. Our present system rewards the mercenary unprofessional practitioner.

Imagine a system where teams of physicians with differing skills, working collegially, provide one-stop shopping for most patient complaints. Inexpensive electronic consultation could be used for many specialty consults. Group practice of this sort would help to restore professionalism and at the same time provide oversight for quality of care. Most importantly it would help us restore pride in our profession. Working together as a team to provide high-quality, cost-effective care would be more satisfying than working under our present piecemeal system with its archaic fee schedule.

If we as a profession can’t modernize our delivery system, the rampant rise in costs will force the government to do it for us.
—John Walton, MD

John Walton, MD. Re: Pressed to test. BCMJ, Vol. 55, No. 10, December, 2013, Page(s) 456 - Letters.

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