General Practitioner


A General Practitioner is a medical practitioner who offers primary health care and specializes in family medicine. It is the responsibility of the General Practitioner to treat acute and chronic illnesses and provide preventive care measure and health education for all ages and both sexes. General Practitioners have specific skills in treating patients with multiple health issues and co morbidities.

In Brazil, a general practice is called clinica geral or clinica medica. After graduation, any physician is allowed to practice even without training, but because of the recent efforts of the government, the Brazilian Medical Association and the specialized Sociedade Brasileira such as endocrinology and cardiology are lobbying for the demand a specialist title for such practice. General Practitioners in Brazil are currently assigned in the public health sector and are mostly young, recently graduated physicians.

In Canada, similar to the United States, two meanings have been duly designated to the term General Practitioner. The Canadian specialty is equivalent to that of the English General Practitioner training programs which accounts for 40% family medicine of the residency positions for the graduating students. A medical student must first finish four years of medical school, spend two to three years in an accredited family medicine program after which they are already eligible to undergo examination for Certification in the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Most hospitals and health regions are now requiring doctors to obtain this certification. The medical practitioners are required to document ongoing learning and upgrade activities to maintain their certificates.

General Practitioners in Canada function in private practices. They are not government employees nor are they being paid by the government. However, majority of General Practitioners are remunerated through their provincial governments’ publicly-funded health insurance plans, through numerous payments mechanisms consisting of fee per service privileges, salaried positions and alternative payment plans.

In the United States, General Practitioners are holder of a license to practice the profession. Their only requirement to obtain such a practice is to be enrolled in or have completed one year of training more commonly known as the rotating internship. All licensed General Practitioners who are unable to complete a three to ten year residency are legally allowed to practice medicine in the specific state within which they have been licensed. The United States Navy has employed many of these General Practitioners who are formally known as General Medical Officers in active practice. Prior to 1970, the terms General Practitioner and Family Practice were synonymous. Now, a General Practitioner who specializes in family medicine is required to complete a residency in family medicine and must be eligible for the possession of a board certification.

In India, one has to enroll in a medical college that is recognized by the Medical Council of India and there, complete a four and a half-year course for the Bachelor of Science in Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery obtain registration, in order to become a General Practitioner.

Rotating internship requires one more additional year for the Medical Council of India to confer a permanent registration which permits the holder to practice as a General Practitioner. As early as the age of 17, an individual can qualify to attend a medical course granted that, he or she has completed a two-year-pre university course with one major subject in Biology.