Family/General Practice in the United Kingdom
When the National Health Service was introduced in 1948, general practitioners were the only physicians in the Health Service who were not directly employed by the new administration. This situation has continued and the general practitioner remains self-employed, but under contract for providing general medical services to a registered list of patients. Patients register with a generalist as soon as they move into an area, whether they need his services or not, and the average list size for each general practitioner in Great Britain was 2,384 in 1974 (2). From then on, all those patients’ initial contact with the medical services will be with that physician, his partner, or a deputy, unless they go straight to an Accident and Emergency (formerly called Casualty) Department of a hospital. Patients needing to see specialists must go via their general practitioners, except in a few special instances. The contract was drawn up originally for general medical services (meaning therapeutic) and preventive work was the responsibility of the then local health authorities under a Medical Officer of Health.
KeywordsGeneral Practitioner Health Visitor Postgraduate Training Local Health Authority General Medical Service
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