THE INDIAN Medical Association (IMA) is making an attempt to revive the ‘trusted’ family physicians—doctors who used to make home visits when in dire need, maintained a personal rapport with the patients and where compassion was the first line of treatment administered— with its diploma courses in family medicine. It is also receiving a good response to the IMA’s fellowship of College of General Practitioners (FCGP) scheme.
“We want to reiterate this message on Doctors’ Day (July 1) that a family physician is really the first point of contact for treating a medical ailment,” says Dr Jayesh Lele, President of IMA, Maharashtra. Due to large joint families, the physician’s role has always been extremely important as he/she would make house calls and was aware of each family member’s medical history. The family doctor was practically indispensable,” recalls Dr Dilip Sarda, former President of IMA.
However, with several MBBS graduates opting for post graduate courses and pursuing various specialisations in various medical disciplines, the IMA felt the need to update the older lot of general practitioners (aged 45 years and above) with the latest medical advancements. According to Lele, a series of continuing medical education programmes have been held and doctors have been urged to take up short courses in diabetes, ECG, oncology to keep themselves abreast with the latest developments.
Now, however, there is a good response to the IMA’s Fellowship in College of General Practitioners (FCGP)programme. Dr Avinash Bhondwe, Vice President of IMA, who was among the 52 doctors awarded with the FCGP recently at the international conference of the College of General Practitioners held on June 25 and 26 in Mumbai, said that the year-long programme has a proper curriculum with recent updates in the field of medicine, surgery, paediatrics and gynaecology. At the end of the course, we have to write an exam and also treat patients accordingly,” Bhondwe said. From Pune, 11 doctors have been awarded the FCGP in June while another 13 are set to receive the fellowship at a conference to be held on October 16 in Pune.
“The idea is to promote that General Practitioners do not just treat cold and cough, but can treat serious ailments and then refer to specialists in the field,” Dr Bhondwe added. Dr Jayant Navrange, in-charge of the medico-legal cell of IMA pointed out that while specialisations are required today keeping in mind the medical advancements, the placebo or psychological effect that a family doctor has on the patients is invaluable. We are encouraging more practitioners to undertake the diploma courses in family medicine so that they no longer deal with mundane and routine health issues,” he said.