Dr Grant Russell is a family physician, Head of School of Primary Health Care, and Professor of General Practice Research at Monash University in Melbourne Australia.
Every few months, someone writes about the parlous state of academic primary care. It was Domhnall MacAuley’s turn a few months ago, as he lamented that academic Family Medicine Departments lack direction, that there was no market for traditional GP research and the academic GP community is getting more and more distant from the patient and from their clinical colleagues. Domhnall’s concerns extended beyond the walls of the university – suggesting that, across general practice the “concept of personal, primary and continuing care exists only in memory”.
Anxiety about the future of the discipline of family medicine is not new. I remember 25 years ago telling an esteemed GP I was thinking about becoming a family physician, only for the celebrated old doctor to say, “I don't know why you want to – see, general practice is finished.” Others have written, and often, about the state of family medicine since the term first began to be used in the 1940s. Underlying all of this are questions of security – “Are we good enough?” “Do we fit?” “Does anyone listen to us?” ...continue reading