Views & Reviews No Holds Barred

Margaret McCartney: Technology isn’t enough

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i620 (Published 01 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i620
  1. Margaret McCartney, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. margaret{at}margaretmccartney.com

Social care is imploding, emergency departments are heaving, and GPs are timing their retirements to avoid appraisals. Juniors are striking, applications for references are rising in preparation for Antipodean jobs, and applications to medical school are down.

Every few days we hear that GPs are failing in some new way, and that we are “ideally placed” to act as marriage guidance counsellors, identify terrorists, tackle health inequalities, or solve obesity.

But apparently it’s okay: technology will save us.

Why worry about declining numbers of hospital beds and rising multimorbidity when we have self monitoring devices, telehealth, and attachments that turn a smartphone into an otoscope? “With e-prescriptions and home delivery, the …

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