PCI’s definition of family medicine is an approach that is patient-centred, informed by public health evidence, and revolves around accessible, integrated services near peoples’ homes – thus avoiding the geographic, financial and social barriers associated with distant, specialist care.
Whilst a public health approach is primarily population-focused, family medicine takes the individual patient journey as the starting point, combining this with a population view in order to effectively and equitably manage primary healthcare across a whole catchment area.
In the UK, Family Medicine Doctors are known as General Practitioners (GPs) and are the first entry point in the healthcare system for the vast majority of patients. Globally, Family Medicine is increasingly recognised as a holistic, patient-centred medical discipline that requires specialist-level training.
As well as promoting the potential role of family medicine doctors, PCI sees a clear need to address skilled health worker shortages by task-sharing across a wide range of clinical and non-clinical cadres – a wide and inclusive approach to family medicine which is pragmatic and which recognises the value of health teams and innovative referral pathways that make best use of the resources available. Nurses and community health workers are key to this approach.