Increased demand for primary health care services in developed nations has been as result of rising patient’s expectation, ageing of the population, and reforms that transfer care from health care facilities to the community. All together, the supply of doctors is constrained and the pressure to contain health care costs is gradually increasing. As a result, doctor-nurse substitution has been developed and adapted in most health care organizations in an attempt to overcome these challenges (Laurant et al, 2011). However, the organization’s stakeholders are likely to reduce cost while maintaining quality care.
In line with Richardson and Maynard (1995), studies have shown that there is no much difference between doctors and nurses in process of care, health outcomes for patients, and resource utilization (cost). In such cases, nurses assume the responsibility for new patients and those in the process of getting treatment (p.16). In general, patient health outcomes are likely to be similar for both doctors and nurses but satisfaction of patients is higher with nurse-led care.
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According to (Laurant et al, 2011), studies have also shown that nurses tend to offer consultations for long, recall patients more easily, and provide patients with more information as compared to doctors. Thus, the stakeholders of a healthcare organization are in a better position to provide patient satisfaction hence improving its reputation. In addition, the stakeholders of the healthcare organization are able to reduce the workload of doctors and direct costs of healthcare.
In accordance with Richardson and Maynard (1995), such reductions are depended on the on the type of care given. Basically, well trained healthcare nurses can produce high quality primary care than that provided by doctors. Lastly, savings in healthcare costs depend on the salary difference between doctors and nurses, and may be counterbalanced by the nurse’s lower productivity as compared to that of the doctors (p.17).
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