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Speaking at the first scientific session of the AGM, Mr Grant Fitzner from the Centre for Workforce Intelligence in the UK outlined the difficulties in predicting how many doctors are needed in the health service in the future.
“I come from a country that is in the middle of a general election and the NHS is very much in the press [during the election campaign],” said Mr Fitzner.
“There seems to be a lot of unhappy doctors, and GPs in particular. Maybe I should send them over to Ireland to get some perspective,” he said, to laughs from the IMO delegates.
In answer to audience questions, Mr Fitzner said there were changes in the nature of medical care in the UK.
“In the UK, there are more different specialities than in any other country in the world, and on the training length, its average is longer [than other places in the world],” he said.
“This whole issue of moving away from the general approach to ever-increasing specialities and sub-specialities over the years has led to an ongoing discussion.
“I think we will see more shifts back towards more generalists….
“There is going to be a shift from a system that is more fragmented to a system that is more cohesive.”