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Task substitution: where to from here?

Niki Ellis, Lynn Robinson and Peter M Brooks
Med J Aust 2006; 185 (1): 18-19.
Published online: 3 July 2006

Meeting future health workforce needs is a challenge for all health professionals

There now seems little debate that the medical profession needs to accept task substitution as one solution to the health workforce crisis. The contributions in this issue of the Journal from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners,1 Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP),2 the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons3 and Australian Medical Association (AMA)4 all acknowledge that reality and express a guarded acceptance of moving in this direction. They correctly emphasise that the overriding issue is the detail of how these strategies should be implemented, always bearing in mind the essential principle that patient care must not be compromised. Collectively, these organisations acknowledge that health care is delivered by a team. Who directs that team is perhaps debatable, although it will in most situations be a medical practitioner. We should, however, acknowledge the recent observations of Sir Graeme Catto, President of the UK General Medical Council:

  • Niki Ellis1
  • Lynn Robinson2
  • Peter M Brooks3

  • University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.


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