Head-to-head in the BMJ, Australian experts debate whether geriatric medicine should remain a specialty. Flicker says “Yes” — like penicillin, geriatric assessment and rehabilitation initially had such a dramatic effect in managing older people with multiple chronic illnesses and concomitant functional disability that it was adopted on observational data only.1 This model has since been shown to work in randomised controlled trials and continues to work well. However, Denaro and Mudge say “No” — while they acknowledge that geriatric medicine pioneered and championed comprehensive assessment and rehabilitation as well as multidisciplinary care, they argue that it is the resources and team model of care rather than “geriatric technology” that makes the difference.2 And, as most of our patients in the future will have chronic diseases or disabilities, or have frailty-related problems, there is little point in continuing to distinguish general physicians from geriatricians.
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