Nurses can conduct health screenings, consultations

Dr Desmond Wai's stand that "a health screening should always involve a medical consultation" gives the impression that the consultation should be carried out only by a trained medical doctor (Health screening should involve medical consultation; June 10).

While I agree that a medical consultation is important in any health screening, other suitably qualified medical or paramedical professionals such as nurses or optometrists can also play a role in the consultation process.

Health screening is designed to evaluate the health of an individual. It may include taking a personal and family health history, and performing a physical examination, laboratory test or radiological examination.

This may be followed by education, counselling, referral and further testing. In the process, a person may be found to have a disease or condition, or be at a higher risk of their development.

Health screening is often routine and repetitive, and can be time-consuming. It is not necessary to have only a doctor perform any medical consultation associated with the screening.

Many health screenings are conducted by trained nurses, who flag abnormal results to doctors for further testing and evaluation.

Using allied health professionals, instead of doctors, can decrease the cost of screening without adversely affecting the quality of the screening.

Chua Yee Leen (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2017, with the headline 'Nurses can conduct health screenings, consultations'. Print Edition | Subscribe