The Academy of Family Physicians of India (AFPI) on Thursday highlighted the need for reviving the concept of family physicians and popularising family medicine as a clinical speciality.
World Family Doctor Day is being observed on May 19 to highlight the role and contribution of family doctors in healthcare systems around the world.
“Family doctor is not a new concept in India. Historically family doctors used to be generalist practitioners who would not only act as health managers but as a friend, philosopher, protector, and guide for a family,” Dr. Raman Kumar, President of the Academy of Family Physicians of India, said.
Those days the community reposed enormous faith in the easily accessible and affordable family doctor, he states.
“During the past few decades fragmentation of medicine into subspecialties has made generalist mode of practice languished. Spectacular advances were made in the health sector with a focus on expertise in single organs, systems, or diseases. It is the development of these subspecialists and their concentration in hospitals that have given rise to growing demand in the community for a physician, who is caring, accessible and who is also an expert.
“The emergence of a clinical speciality called ‘Family Medicine’ has created a hope for reviving the ancient traditions of general medicine and redefining ‘Family Doctor’ who is best trained to meet the requirement of the modern era,” Dr Kumar said.
Family medicine is a person-centred speciality which provides comprehensive care through continuous healing relationship-oriented towards a family in particular and the community in general.
Dr Vandana Boobna, National Secretary of AFPI, said that the COVID 19 pandemic has once again reemphasized the importance of a robust primary healthcare delivery system.
“While the media and public were applauding the tertiary care hospitals for the way they handled critical cases, the primary care workforce was working relentlessly doing their best in preventing complications and significantly reducing the burden on the hospitals, be it testing and contact tracing, treating, and monitoring home isolation cases or even vaccination at public sector has seen primary care workers taking the lead,” Dr Boobna said.
Dr Kumar said that in the backdrop of the current scenario of growing negative perceptions about the medical profession in the community, there’s a great need for promoting family practice to re-establish patient confidence in the noble profession. There’s a need for the young medical graduates to come forward and contribute to the community by choosing family medicine as a speciality, he said.
The family Medicine fraternity has a great role to play in redefining the concept of family doctor by preparing the next generation of family physicians, he added.