The Evolution of general practice in Canada: a reflection on retirement
Author: John Edworthy, Vancouver Fraser Family Practice Residency Program
ABSTRACT: Primary care is a key determinant of the health of our population. Family physicians are central to the delivery of primary care in Canada. The perceived value of the generalist in the delivery of medical care has varied since the birth of general practice in the 19th century. I have seen the perceived value of the generalist, relative to the specialist physician, improve, particularly as “full scope” family physicians have become a scarce commodity in recent years. Even with improved support for family doctors and a marked increase in the number of graduating family physicians there remains a significant shortage of family doctors across Canada. I believe much of this problem is due to many graduating family physicians choosing to focus their practice within family medicine and give up on being a generalist who addresses the Principles of Family Practice as outlined by the Canadian College of Family Physicians.