HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR DOCTOR: GASTROENTEROLOGISTS AND GENERAL PRACTITIONERS

Gastroenterologists
Gastroenterologists are physicians who have specialized in disorders of the digestive tract. Their interests range from Hepatitis and disorders of the oesophagus to ulcerative conditions of the rectum. The invention of the endoscope allows such wondrous achievements as the simultaneous photography of the colonoscope’s working parts by the working parts of the gastroscope and vice versa as these two instruments meet in the middle of a patient’s gastrointestinal tract. The use of endoscopes by physicians makes further inroads into the responsibilities of the general surgeon. Now gastroenterologists armed with endoscopes are removing colorectal cancers in their infancy before they spread to distant parts of the body.
General Practitioners
Two socio-political events led to a downgrading of the role of general practitioners in Australia over the last decade. Firstly the supply of general practitioners outstripped the demand for their services. Australia now has one doctor per four hundred head of population; whereas the World Health Organization’s recommendation for developed nations is one doctor per six hundred. Secondly medical specialists took control of many procedures and attendances formerly the domain of general practitioners.
This deskilling and oversupply of general practitioners allows the Federal Government to subsidize price cutting in the private health sector and claim responsibility for the provision of available medical services that all Australians can afford. From the point of view of the six thousand general practitioners that the Government plans to drive out of the medical market place within the next six years, the future for general practitioners in Australia doesn’t look all that promising.
Home Remedies
An oversupply of general practitioners means that blood tests are requested and trials of therapy are advised which are weighted in favour of the doctors’ financial interests; rather than the interests of a patient’s good health. Whenever offered, a prescription, an investigation or a return visit to the doctor’s – ask WHY. Such a simple question reduces the frequency of medical interventions by up to 50 per cent.
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