Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Acute Perspective

David Oliver: Rehabilitation is part of medicine

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 19 January 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i270
  1. David Oliver, consultant in geriatrics and acute general medicine, Berkshire
  1. davidoliver372{at}

I spoke recently at a conference on how future hospital models must adapt to older people’s needs. Conversation afterwards turned to doctors’ careers and what might make acute and general internal medicine more appealing. Someone pulled out the chestnut (one sadly familiar to geriatricians) that “doctors don’t go into medicine to do social work.”

I have problems with this viewpoint.

Let me translate “social work” here: it means multidisciplinary rehabilitation and discharge planning for people with frailty, complex comorbidity, disability, or dementia.

Firstly, such patients are the biggest users of acute services. Patients over 65 account for around …

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