General Practitioners, a vanishing tribe

Today’s MBBS graduates do not have much confidence to practise immediately after they pass-out from medical college, said Pradeep Deshpande, senior nephrologist.

By   |  Published: 6th Jun 2017  12:31 amUpdated: 6th Jun 2017  12:37 am

Hyderabad: In the last few years, a clear trend has emerged in the healthcare sector in Hyderabad, which has made healthcare providers and associations representing doctors here and elsewhere sit-up, take notice and acknowledge.

The number of super-speciality and speciality doctors are gradually rising and fast overtaking the number of general practitioners (GPs), a development that has almost become universal now.

Roughly, every year close to 50,000 MBBS doctors pass-out from India, of which over 35,000 doctors opt to pursue PG specialisation. The remaining MBBS doctors, usually prepare for one or two years with the hope of breaking-into the highly competitive PG examination system of the Country.

The role of GP in the healthcare system has eroded so much that even patients have inculcated this habit or preference to approach a speciality doctor first for a prescription.

“GPs and family physicians have disappeared from the medical system. It’s a universal trend that needs to be acknowledged and reversed. It’s simply putting a lot of pressure in speciality doctors, who are meant to handle only complicated cases and not regular patients,” said senior nephrologist, K Gopal Kishan.

Senior doctors here said, in United Kingdom and other countries in Europe and even in United States, it is mandatory for patients to first meet a GP who in turn depending on the patient’s need recommends a specialist.

Then there is the issue of financial benefits that come with the practice for speciality doctors. Typically, specialty doctors charge anywhere between Rs 500 and Rs 1,500 for a visit to their outpatient wings while a GP charges anywhere from Rs 80 to Rs 300.

“There is a lot of money if you are a specialist doctor in Hyderabad. Moreover, there are no PG courses on Family Medicine speciality for MBBS doctors in Telangana. There is not much demand in the market for a GP these days,” said Telangana State Junior Doctors Association (OGH) president PS Vijayender Reddy.

Senior physicians have also questioned the quality of education that is being imparted to MBBS students, which makes just-pass MBBS students quiet unsure of their abilities.

“Today’s MBBS graduates do not have much confidence to practise immediately after they pass-out from medical colleges. Unlike yesteryears, when MBBS graduates where capable of handling a lot of complicated cases without the need of a speciality doctors, these days MBBS doctors can’t handle such situations and hence they prepare for specialised courses,” said senior nephrologist, Pradeep Deshpande.