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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


GERVAS, Juan; BONIS, Julio  and  SEMINARIO DE INNOVACION EN ATENCION PRIMARIA 2007. Professional Debate on Shortage of Physicians. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2008, vol.82, n.6, pp.627-635. ISSN 2173-9110.

We do not know the best answer to problems due to shortage of physicians (absolute number and by specialities) but perhaps what is important is the lack of a professional debate about what means "to be" a physician. In this paper we address four key professional questions: 1/ the over-training of physicians when health demand now includes minor problems, 2/ predominance of physician-patient direct encounters in a world of telecommunications and indirect encounters, 3/ the need to delegate power and responsibilities to other health professionals as a consequence of new technology developments and changes in role-design, and 4/ too much emphasis in diagnosis with the danger to initiate cascades with its side-effects. Practical answers to these questions require changes in pre and postgraduate education, improvement in health services organization to profit the use of telecommunications and analysis and re-design of the limits in between professions, levels of care, institutions and health and social sectors.

Keywords : Health Professionals; Supply.

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