The overall costs of health screening could be cut significantly by having qualified nurses take over some roles of doctors in subsequent consultations (Nurses can conduct health screenings, consultations, by Ms Chua Yee Leen; June 14).
The last few decades have seen a widening of the repertoire of tasks performed by nurses.The National Heart Centre, for one, has started to deploy senior nurses and even pharmacists to conduct consultations and follow-up for warfarin monitoring.
Many patients would appreciate the reduction of consultation fees. However, the perception that a nurse is not as qualified as a doctor to conduct a consultation remains strong within the community.
Some may also resist the idea of nurses prescribing their medicine, or even doing certain procedures hitherto done by doctors.
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To change such thinking requires time.
More people could be trained as nurses, compared with doctors, who require longer and more costly training. With an increasingly greying population, we need to raise the social status of nurses to allow them to step up to meet our growing healthcare needs.
Lee Kay Yan (Miss)