Credit crunch 'shifts doctor work to other health professionals'

The global economic crisis could lead to health authorities saving costs by shifting tasks away from doctors to other health professionals, according to the president of the World Medical Association (WMA).

Dr Jon Snaedal predicted that the current economic turmoil will accelerate the move towards shifting doctors’ responsibilities to other health professionals.

He told the WMA’s general assembly in Seoul, South Korea: ‘Many of the other health professionals are willing to take over tasks that we have traditionally provided. These tasks include, for example, prescribing of drugs, diagnostic work and even treatment and follow up of patients.’

He argued that the driving force of change is that other health professionals are cheaper than doctors.

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