Physicians Need More Time with Their Patients

Physicians need more time with their patients to consider the psychosocial aspects of health problems, according to the President of the World Medical Association Dr. Miguel Jorge.

Speaking at a World Health Organisation meeting in Muscat, Oman on non-communicable diseases and mental health, Dr Jorge said that medical education and training placed a strong emphasis on the biological aspects of diseases and their treatment.

‘But, particularly for NCDs and mental health, there is a need for physicians to take into consideration the psychosocial aspects affecting their patients’, he said. ‘The physician-patient relationship requires enough time at each contact to allow for a comprehensive person-centered approach – and that often means more time than is usually provided.

‘In the mental health care field, more time when caring will certainly reduce the adoption of coercive measures and involuntary treatment that is currently observed in different parts of the world.’

Dr. Jorge, a psychiatrist, said that there was a significant shortage of health professionals worldwide, which increased the already high pressure on the existing health workforce. Medical attention needed to be delivered initially in primary care services under a universal health coverage model to guarantee an equitable access to effective and timely health care for all.