Recent news headlines have highlighted the shortage of doctors in public hospitals, especially in disadvantaged areas. There is no doubt that more doctors need to be trained and recruited into the public sector. But are these strategies sufficient to solve the shortage of hospital staff with skills to diagnose patients’ problems and implement treatment? How long will it take to fill all the public sector’s vacant posts? And how much will it cost? Clinical associates have the potential to bring good quality hospital care closer to communities in a way that is affordable for the country. Along with other initiatives they could help to strengthen the public sector, and extend its coverage, as envisaged by the National Health Insurance policy.
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