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Concept of family doctors re-emerging

Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 3:19pm IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA
After being absent for over a decade, that wise man with stethoscope around his neck and a solution to your ailments, is back in action.

After being absent for over a decade, that wise man with stethoscope around his neck and a solution to your ailments, is back in action.

He had probably cured your father and grandfather too of many ailments and knows exactly what runs through your genes.

The concept of family doctors, after fading out for over a decade, is re-emerging and gaining momentum. In the coming days, you don't have to run to a city hospital for every cold or fever.

While some people hate hospital visits, others don't have trust in the doctor-patient relationship. No wonder, the concept of family doctors faded over the years. Why is it coming back now?

"There are certain problems with hospital visits. First, the very thought of visiting a hospital for minor ailments like soar throat or viral fever puts you off so much that you often end up avoiding visiting a doctor. Second, every time while visiting a hospital, you end up meeting a new doctor," said Srinath P, a resident of Malleswaram.

Srinath feels family doctors should be back in practice. However, we are left with no option since the doctor who sits in the local clinic does not seem to be trustworthy, he added.

"In India, the concept of general physicians (GPs) is quite different from that abroad. Here, mostly, medical students who could not specialise in a subject end up being GPs. The government does not bother to train them further. Thus, Nationwide was set up in the middle of last year with the aim of building a network of competent and well-trained doctors," said Dr Shantanu Rahman, medical director, Nationwide.

The organisation is an initiative of a team of doctors who had returned to India after having worked with the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK for over 10 years.

Nationwide not only provides opportunities for GPs returning from abroad but also focuses on medical education and training of doctors.

"We are recruiting MBBS doctors from the city and providing them with adequate training. We are evolving a curriculum, keeping Indian patients in mind. Talks are on with the Royal College of General Practitioners of UK and we hope to get affiliated to them soon," added Dr Rahman.

Three clinics and three half clinics of Nationwide in Bangalore run with 12 doctors of which five have migrated from the UK or US and the rest are recruited from the city. Their 600-strong clientele include corporate clients.

"Good communication skills are a must for all our doctors, since we are focusing on making the doctor-patient relation from a top-down approach to a horizontal one," said Dr Rahman.

"A personalised family physician is needed to focus on everyday ailments and chronic disease conditions that can be monitored and treated. But the city lacks a platform to provide adequately qualified and trustworthy physicians," said Suresh Patel, a software engineer from Old Airport Road.

"I used to visit a clinic regularly only to know later that the physician employed by them was not MBBS and had done only some short-term integrated course in medicine," he said.

However, a platform like Nationwide provides qualified and competent family physicians who will call you up asking about your health and send you SMS alerts about your medical tests.Nationwide's physicians will call you up asking about your health and send SMS alerts about your medical tests.




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