Intended for healthcare professionals


Only a fifth of US medical students choose primary care

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 27 April 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2684

Concerns about primary health care strategy in Argentina

At present, Argentinian medical schools train future graduates to
focus their efforts towards primary health care. Thus, some concerns
come into view when we consider the particular situation faced by a
developed country such as the US and what occurs in a developing one such as Argentina.

*In a disorganized health care system such as Argentina has, is primary care a
suitable strategy for satisfying health care demands of all social class

*Argentinian sanitary authorities are truly persuaded about it or it
constitutes a way of saying to their voters: "we are doing something in
this regard as expected"?

*Is it possible that efforts put on primary care finally become a sort of
primitive care for people with no means of support?

*Why are general physicians, beyond being catalogued as specialists by our
Medical College, limited in number when compared with those
specialized in any other medical field?

*Why, prior to putting a particular accent on primary care, did Argentinian
medical curricula not especially emphasise training excellent
physicians apt to solve different health requirements through curing when
possible or through a quick and reliable referral when needed? This type
of decision should be based on critical thinking, a repeated expression in
most medical curricula despite the absence of systematic training during
the medical career.

*In this context, primary care is here considered an authentic shift or
only a convenient way to obtain different types of benefits regardless of
the advantages it implies?

Although other questions related to primary health care may be
formulated, we think that the above mentioned ones are quite sufficient to
put into brackets an issue which must still be openly debated.

Competing interests: No competing interests

01 May 2011
Medical Professor and Researcher
Facultad de Ciencias Medicas, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Rosario, Argentina