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General health services are those services provided by family practitioners, also known as general practitioners. These doctors are usually the first person a patient goes to see when they have a medical complaint; this is known as primary care. |
This doctor then provides answers and helps resolve the issue. If they can’t, then they refer the patient to a specialist.
One source defines a general practitioner as:
A specialist trained to work in the front line of a healthcare system and to take the initial steps to provide care for any health problem(s) that patients may have. The general practitioner takes care of individuals in a society, irrespective of the patient's type of disease or other personal and social characteristics, and organizes the resources available in the healthcare system to the best advantage of the patients. The general practitioner engages with autonomous individuals across the fields of prevention, diagnosis, cure, care, and palliation, using and integrating the sciences of biomedicine, medical psychology, and medical sociology. (University of Aarhus, Denmark)
As the definition states it is through general a practitioner that a person’s health care is coordinated. This makes general health services an integral part of providing health care. The types of services provided often include coordinating services for such chronic problems as diabetes, back pain, and depression. General health services also include providing preventative care such as immunizations, and physicals. General health services also include minor surgery, and sometimes obstetrics.
To become a general health practitioner, a person must complete an undergraduate degree, medical school, and a three-year medical residency that focuses on training in family practice. Doctors in this field prefer the term Family Physician, rather than general practitioner, because many feel that general practitioner is somewhat demeaning and does not reflect the amount of training that they have completed.
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