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Time for urgent action from health professionals, says regulation expert

Health professions need to take the lead in building effective regulatory systems – because regulation is an essential means of gaining and maintaining the trust of patients.

This will be one of the main messages of keynote speaker Gilles Dussault at the forthcoming World Health Professions Regulation Conference, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in May. 

Gilles Dussault, who is Professor at the Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Lisbon, Portugal, believes the conference is of the utmost importance to health professionals around the world.

“The topic is very timely,” he says. “There are a lot of pressures on health professions at the moment, and they have to decide how to react to them.”

Dussault explains that one of the pressures is that health professions are having to adapt their education and training as world demography changes. There are also pressures to become more efficient as technology advances, and to provide equitable access to services to all people.

“There are increased expectations from populations about the quality of service a profession provides,” says Dussault, who has worked as Senior Health Specialist at the World Bank Institute, and contributes to a number of international projects related to the regulation and management of the health workforce. “Good accreditation mechanisms are necessary because of this.”

“The increased mobility of professions also means there is pressure for better regulation to ensure quality of service.”

Dussault’s keynote lecture will address how health professions should respond in the light of change. “They can wait and see what happens, resist the changes that are happening, or take the lead. I will be saying that to wait means having something imposed on you, and to resist is to ask for trouble. Professions and their national associations need to take the lead and act.” 

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