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Ideas and Opinions |

Geriatric Medicine: Whose Specialty?

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This paper was based on one presented by the author at the Second Aesculapian Society Medical Symposium, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada, February 1979.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to James Williamson, M.B., Ch. B.; University Department of Geriatric Medicine, City Hospital, Greenbank Drive; Edinburgh, EH10 5SB, Scotland.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Ann Intern Med. 1979;91(5):774-777. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-91-5-774
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The recommendation of the 1978 report of the Institute of Medicine, Washington, D.C., states that there should not be "a formal practice specialty in geriatrics." The United Kingdom has a comprehensive geriatric service based on a separate specialty of geriatric medicine. This speciality was developed before the National Health Service in 1948. The future of geriatric medicine is not clearly defined. It should continue, I believe, as a separate speciality but with deliberate policies to bring it back into "mainstream medicine." This will involve closer integration with family practice, internal medicine, and psychiatry. While I realize that the operation of the geriatric service in Edinburgh, where I work, could not simply be transplanted into an American setting, the principles of geriatric care ought to be applied within a specialist service if the increasing problems of the aging in American society are to be adequately met.







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