Generational change is the great challenge facing rural medicine

Generational change is the great challenge for rural medicine, as I represent Spanish Society of General Practitioners and Family Physicians (SEMG), Celebrated in A Coruña Thirtieth National Congress. At the symposium “Vanguard skills in rural medicine: meeting the challenges of the 21st century”, the main future challenges were analysed. SEMG estimates that about 2,500 doctors will retire or leave these positions over the next five years. They shared this table Pilar Rodriguez Lido, Chairman of SEMG, W keith Albert Fu Gill, Head of SEMG-Galicia. In addition, he also participated as a speaker Hermenegildo Marcos Carreras, First Vice President of the European Union of Family Doctors (UEMO).

Challenges of rural medicine

Keith Albert Vu, who is also president of the organizing committee of the A Coruña conference, pointed to some data from a survey conducted by the Organization Medical Collective (OMC). As he said, “very discouraging percentages” were obtained. Thus, 80% of doctors who practice in rural areas consider that they do not receive any kind of recognition for holding positions that are difficult to fill, and 27% are waiting for a transfer competition to fill a position in another area. From SEMG, Pilar Rodríguez Ledo and Keith Albert Vu proposed different “strategic lines” in the rural setting to try to promote doctors in these positions. They specifically referred to the proposal to associate resident doctors for at least two years in rural centres. “We are very sensitive to the values ​​and problems of rural medicine,” Rodriguez Ledo told reporters. As he commented, he had previously worked for 17 years “in rural Galicia.” “In fact, during the next four OPE operations, my place was still deserted.” Among other difficulties, he cited the distance from the nearest hospital and problems of matchmaking. “The rural doctor not only provides consultations, but also carries out many community actions. In the rural environment, the doctor is a key figure. We deal with health, not disease, and promote healthy lifestyles. All these values ​​are represented by rural medicine.”

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Digitization of rural medicine

Another topic addressed in the Congress that began on Wednesday in La Coruña is artificial intelligence. According to the president, it is necessary to take advantage of the advantages it brings. “We don’t want AI to replace us as doctors, we want to see our patients and for AI to help us reduce bureaucracy, without losing empathy, and analyze the disease within a social context and within a family and community environment.”

Restructuring in primary centers

In her speech, the President called for a “broad rethink” of care and “restructuring” of primary care centres. “We doctors have to work as doctors, because we are not bureaucrats or transporters.” He also pointed out that health centers, which were opened 20 and 30 years ago, are still operating in the same way as they were in their inception, although conditions have evolved significantly. In this sense, he demanded “more resources” in order to be able to serve the population. Likewise, Fu Gil pointed out that there is a lack of knowledge and recognition of rural medicine. “It is the great unknown, despite its advantages, such as proximity. There should be more resources to implement telemedicine. “Digital transformation must be strengthened.” Regarding the medical professional covering a rural position, the President of SEMG-Galicia lamented that there is a lack of “recognition and support”. “The status of these doctors should be recognized and rewarded based on their skills,” he added.

III Asomega Rural Scholarship SEMG

During this symposium, the third Asomega Rural Scholarship was awarded SEMG, a recognition that seeks to support rural doctors in their professional development. This initiative recognizes research and community intervention work in rural areas. He relapsed this year Marta Calvo Siwan and José Manuel Lag Parente. In addition, members of Congress will be able to visit the exhibition of the Rural Doctor Museum in Maceda, which offers a broad view of the history and development of rural medicine in Spain. This exhibition installed in Balsco includes a collection of medical instruments, historical documents and photographs.

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