President of the Canadian Medical Association explains how to get rid of the patient

A controversial medical expert from Canada has spoken this weekend about how to get rid of the patient. Prof Louis Hugo Francescutti, President of the Canadian Medical Association, spoke to doctors at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland at the St Luke’s Symposium in Dublin about how doctors should focus on how to prevent illness rather than how to treat it.

Prof Francescutti said that medical schools train doctors on how to treat illness, but the emphasis should be on creating a better understanding of what makes people healthy. He said the majority of diseases could be prevented, if the focus was on prevention.

Prof Francescutti said “We are good at taking care of patients who are ill, but why wait for them to become ill? I have yet to meet a patient who wants to be a patient. Why wait for someone to have a heart attack or have an accident. Why focus on treatment, when we could be thinking of risk factors that are making patients sick? The three main risk factors affecting people’s health are smoking, inactivity and poor nutrition and they relate to 50% of the disease burden. Doctors should be asking patients about these three risk factors.”

“We should be able to reduce injuries through prevention. Car accidents are one of the most common causes of injuries. Sweden has a strategy that by 2050, nobody will die or be injured on their roads.”

“Social determinants have a massive impact of people’s health. Having access to education is crucial. Education will enable you to get a job so you will have enough money to have a place to live and eat healthy food. Don’t underestimate the importance of love in health. Having somebody to love you and being able to love somebody is essential. Having a good workplace and being future orientated in your outlook are also important for health.”

“There is a tsunami of disease coming down the line. That is why we need to focus on how to prevent illness. Different countries already do parts of this well. Ireland should take the best examples from around the world and bring it together. Wellness should be a national priority. It takes political clout to do this. We should challenge our politicians to do this. We have the knowledge. It just requires the will. Ireland should set itself the goal of becoming the healthiest country in the world. It is easier to do this in a small country and Ireland can set an example for the rest of the world. Ireland would then be able to export wellness.”

Prof Francescutti finished his address by making an appeal to doctors: “The medical profession will disappear if it doesn’t meet society's needs. We know what makes people sick and it’s up to us to change it. Lift up your eyes from the bedside and become more involved in advocacy for health. Doctors must be given the tools to do this.”

For media queries contact

Kate Healy, Communications Manager, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.
Tel: 085 8722109