Sikh GP peers into future role of doctors

There is a thought that looking into the distant future, the doctor as a professional as trained today may not need to exist - PROF PALI HUNGIN

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By Asia Samachar | BRITAIN |

A prominent Sikh general practitioner (GP) and clinical researcher is playing a lead role in Britain’s efforts to reimagine the future world of doctors and nurses.

Meet Profesor Pali Hungin who heads the Changing Face of Medicine (CFM), a project hosted by The Academy Of Medical Royal Colleges.

Among others, Hungin and the team are tasked to look at the various scenarios of the future, including one where the doctors no longer exist.

“There is a thought that looking into the distant future, the doctor as a professional as trained today may not need to exist,” Hungin, a former president of the British Medical Association (BMA) and founding dean of a medicine school, said in a recent interview with The Guardian.

“So a person who is not well may see a diagnostician who needn’t necessarily be trained traditionally as a doctor. The diagnostician may be armed with AI and machine learning technology, and might be able to take the necessary steps.”

And then if any interventions are required – and we know that for example, practical interventions like surgery are now advancing rapidly in terms of robotics and so on – so you could argue that the person who performs those interventions, again, need not necessarily be a traditionally trained doctor.”

SEE: Pali Hungin: ‘We can’t replace doctors with technology alone’ (The Guardian)

CFM brings together representatives from across the medical profession, patient groups, commercial organisations to look at the role of the doctor in the future. Its over-arching ambition is to influence long-term policy in this area.

The work is critical as Hungin says doctors, traditionally trained in a certain way, “have been struggling to find a role for ourselves in this new age.”

Kenyan-born Hungin came to the UK in 1970 to study medicine at Newcastle University, where he is now emeritus professor of general practice.

He was formerly the founding dean of medicine at Durham University and BMA president in 2017.

Hungin, 68, is a founding member of the UK and European Primary Care Societies for Gastroenterology and has served on the Scientific Committee of the European Gastroenterology Federation and as Chair of the Primary Care Committee of the Rome Foundation for Functional GI disorders.

He has a long research publication record in clinical gastroenterology, having worked in both general practice and hospital care in NE England and has a particular interest in ensuring the evidence-based quality of care in the clinical setting, according to his profile.

Hungin is married and has three grown-up children.

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Malaysia’s pioneer Sikh scientist made Emeritus Professor (Asia Samachar, 30 Sept 2019)

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