There is no doubt that doctors play a very vital role in the medical community. Within this community, family physicians and doctors also play an integral role in helping their patients and their families through significant life events. They are also an essential link to specialist services in hospitals as they provide them with background and relevant information about a patient’s condition.
In India, family doctors are involved in every stage of a patient’s life, from birth to death. This includes pregnancy, birthing, paediatric care, vaccination, illness, and end of life and palliation at home. Since family doctors are aware of the patient’s background and family history, they can recommend them to a specialist as and when required. As they have in-depth knowledge about the patient, they ensure improved diagnostic accuracy, early referral when required, reduced hospitalizations and overall better health outcomes. In addition, to treating various illnesses, they play a vital role in preventing diseases and ensuring timely vaccinations for all their patients.
However, in the current times, the popularity of family doctors as a profession has decreased, but it is vital to encourage this vocation. This is particularly important because the ratio of patients and doctors in India is quite skewed, and many people who need medical attention wait for a long time for an appointment with a specialist. This leads to delays in their treatment. However, if they had a family doctor, they could seek them out at the earliest for treatment and diagnosis, resulting in better health and financial outcomes. In conclusion, family doctors are essential pillars in the healthcare ecosystem, which is why their profession needs to be encouraged, especially among people keen to become doctors in the future.
-Dr. Sushmita Roy Choudhury, Director of Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital, Anandapur, Kolkata