General practice is a calling

Many general practitioners could have specialised in certain disciplines but opted not to. Instead, they chose to "specialise" in seeing patients in their living environments and healing them within the community (Too many specialist doctors and too few who can see the big picture ; Sept 7).

General practitioners will never attain the kind of in-depth expertise required in the management of a specific minority of patients.

However, they possess the breadth of knowledge that enables them to identify, categorise and manage a multitude of illnesses.

The disciplines are complementary.

The life expectancy of Singaporeans has increased by 10 years in the last four decades.

This can be attributed to better recognition and treatment of lifestyle-related chronic diseases. The treatment of chronic diseases is best managed by general practitioners.

GPs will never attain the kind of in-depth expertise required in the management of a specific minority of patients. However, they possess the breadth of knowledge that enables them to identify, categorise and manage a multitude of illnesses.

Many international studies have shown that good primary healthcare leads to a good health outcome for the population.

Being a general practitioner may not be as financially rewarding as being a specialist, but general practice is fascinatingly variegated, challenging and stimulating.

A general practitioner provides a more cost effective medical service and is also an empathetic friend, counsellor, dietitian and facilitator who is familiar with his patients' social circumstances and family needs.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2017, with the headline 'General practice is a calling'. Print Edition | Subscribe