How to make regional medicine revive from the medical crisis or collapse due to the severe paucity of medical doctors: A plan with "the magnet hospital"

Tsunetoshi Itoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: In 2002-2003, the practice of doctors lending their names to appear as "staff" of hospitals became known. Problems regarding funds from public hospitals were also revealed. Tohoku University asked regional societies how to improve the medical situation, and redefined its responsibilities. The Educational Development Center for Local Medicine and Department of Local Medical Service System were set up (2005-2008). Investigation and research: A severe shortage of medical doctors prevails in Japan: the number of doctors per population is at the 4th lowest among OECD countries, and the number per hospital bed is the lowest. We have no nursing homes whose beds are not counted as hospital beds. The number of faculty staff in Japanese medical schools is 1/3 to those of Western countries. The reported number of doctors working in hospitals and offices surpasses that by census for medical doctors by >40,000. Japanese doctors work for >60 hours per week. Results and conclusions: I propose essential plans to improve Japanese situation for medical service: 1. Immediately increase the number of doctors by at least 50%. Based on our calculation, we need 450,000 doctors. 2. When the shortage of doctors is severe, establish a magnet hospital with c.a. 500 beds for every 200,000 population, capable of treating highly emergency patients and attracting doctors who need medical training. Hospitals should not belong to each city or town. 3. Establish a comprehensive organization to nurture doctors on a long-term basis. It should consist of a medical school, hospitals, and the prefectural government. It should help doctors to move between hospitals, and be responsible both for designing doctors' career paths and for allocating them appropriately.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-507
Number of pages5
JournalJapanese Journal of Geriatrics
Volume46
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Dec 1

Keywords

  • Local medicine
  • Medical policies
  • The comprehensive organization to nurture doctors on a long-term basis
  • The magnet hospital
  • The shortage of medical doctors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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