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'Specialists in generalism' undersells GPs


Thank you Nishma, this is a very thought-provoking viewpoint. However, I do feel that you contradict your own argument. The value of Generalism is a hot debate at the moment, not only in Primary Care, but also secondary care amongst both Physicians and Surgeons. Many are now realising (as some predicted some 20 years ago) that the push for superspecialisation is leaving gaps in assessment and management of people, whole humans, not just parts or systems, and leading to increasing over treatment and over investigation. The term 'specialist' denotes special knowledge, experience and skills. How many speciality trainees are specifically trained to look at a person's presentation and health in general in the context of their lives, social circumstances, community? How many college membership examinations specifically test skills in eliciting the person's symptoms and what they mean to that individual and those around them? These valuable skills in generalism make the difference between us as Primary Care Physicians and a super specialist Shoulder Surgeon. With the degree of genaralist training and experience we have, we have become Specialists in the field of overview medicine. Then there is the 'soft' but undeniable social status implied in the term 'Specialist'. While you may not agree that a word should have such a power, that it's all just semantics, it is foolhardy to ignore the effects such a word has on a profession's image to the lay-person. With that said, the title 'General Practioner' is laden with nearly a century of degraded status, to both public and hospital colleagues. So with that said, I see our profession's future as Specialists (Consultants) in Primary Care

Posted date

28 Apr 2017

Posted time