Hong Kong Med J 1999;5:315-8 | Number 3, September 1999
HALNAN LECTURE 1998
Medicine: quo vadis
The Hong Kong Academy of Medicine, 99 Wong Chuk hang Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Medicine has made rapid progress but has it lost its direction? Medicine is but one of the factors on which the health of a community depends; others include sanitation, housing, education, and life-style. Developments in medical education and practice must take into account the needs of society, changes in demography, patient expectations, costs, and the importance of preventive medicine. While the humanities, communication skills, and medical economics are important, these should not be taught at the expense of a sound core curriculum and clinical skills, which may be declining. Can human kindness and understanding be taught? Role models may help, but are their numbers sufficient? Postgraduate organisations have been successful in vocational training, but 'professionalism' must be further nurtured. This concerns doctors' responsibilities and relationships with patients, colleagues, the profession, and society. Specialists and subspecialists are needed but so are the 'generalists'. The education and training of doctors must be done in the context of the overall training of health care personnel. The Hong Kong Academy of Medicine and its Colleges must have a significant voice in making decisions and policies that affect health and medical matters. A patient should be a satisfied patient and not a statistic or a client. Where is medicine heading? Let us pause, think, and then act to lead it straight ahead.
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