Time for Physicians to take the lead, says New WMA President

(14.10.2011) It is time for physicians to reaffirm their leadership of the healthcare process and to stand up for medicine, the new President of the World Medical Association said today.

In his inaugural speech at the WMA's annual General Assembly in Montevideo, Uruguay, Dr. José Gomes do Amaral, President of the Brazilian Medical Association, said physicians had to decide if they wanted to be the key players in the health care process or simply ‘mere spectators.'

‘This is no time to be vague', he warned. ‘We cannot be supporting actors in a play where the people expect us to be protagonists.

‘It is time for us to reaffirm our leadership of the healthcare process. This is what we were educated to do. We were given the privilege and responsibility to take care of the lives of our patients. This is our duty and society trusts us to behave up to their expectations.'

Dr. Gomes do Amaral, a professor of anaesthesiology, said this was a period of uncertainty and indecision for physicians around the world and he was taking over the Presidency of the WMA as the medical profession was facing formidable challenges. Physicians found themselves surrounded by a complex healthcare network, whose primary purpose was to broaden access to care. But the role of physicians in this network was often misrepresented and the medical profession could not accept that. Under no circumstances could physicians contemplate a retreat from their role and responsibilities.

He said that in the field of health, immense possibilities of diagnosis and treatment had been brought about by science and technological development, unimaginable a few decades ago. Physicians had played their part in this and they would certainly do more in this field. Specialization and specialists were more necessary than ever and doctors, who had helped to build and integrate the health system, should not now be disregarded. It was time for doctors to stand up for medicine.

Dr. Gomes do Amaral takes over as President of the WMA for 2011/12, succeeding Dr. Wonchat Subhachaturas from Thailand.