Family physicians are the need of the hour
With a population of more than a billion (~1.32 billion), India is facing a shortage of doctors, establishment and beds. Presently, India has one doctor for every 1700 people against the WHO recommended norm of 1 doctor for every 1,000 people. There are not enough doctors to take care of the health needs of all.
This is the time to bring back the age-old concept of 'Family physician'. Unlike a General Practitioner, a family physician looked after all the health needs of a family, even many generations of a family, regardless of his/her specialization. They not only treat, but also provide preventive health care to the family being aware of the family history and was the link between the patient and the specialist. Considered a part of the family, he was an integral part of all important family functions and events. All in all, he was a 'friend, philosopher and guide' of the family.
For good health outcomes, a physician has to be aware of the social determinants of health i.e. the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. It is important to know the socio-economic circumstances of a patient, because these influence outcomes. Family physicians address the social determinants of health.