In times of rising demand in a fast changing environment, the British Medical Association (BMA) has been keen to open a dialogue about the role of doctors. It invited a range of clinicians, policy-makers, patients and patient representatives from the across the UK and overseas to identify some of the key issues and questions involved.
The project, led by BMA president Professor Pali Hungin, looks at how social and technological changes might affect doctors' sense of vocation, professional values and the doctor-patient relationship in the future and draws on international perspectives.
Earlier this year, the BMA held a series of small, roundtable discussions. Each meeting focused on open, unstructured discussions on the current situation, followed by an exploration of future scenarios. A range of different and sometimes contrasting opinions and perspectives were expressed across different groups. In April an international symposium was held at BMA House, featuring presentations alongside panel discussions with international guests and representatives from a number of national medical associations.
The changing face of medicine and the role of doctors in the future report draws together the themes, areas and ideas discussed at the symposium and roundtable discussions. Dr Ruth Chambers, who is Clinical Lead for Long Term Conditions at WMAHSN, represented the WMAHSN by attending the discussion group and the main symposium, being on the final panel.
Together, the roundtables and the symposium elicited a rich variety of discussion points across a broad range of themes: the morale and well-being of doctors, the potential for new technologies to transform the provision of healthcare, the evolving nature of the doctor-patient relationship, medical education and training and medical leadership. The changing face of medicine and the role of doctors in the future report draws together the themes, areas and ideas discussed at the symposium and roundtable discussions.