Letter to ST Forum

25 May 2021

Forum: GPs play critical role in the public health system

We wish to address the misinformation in recent social media posts containing inaccurate statements about general practitioners (GPs).

Family medicine, which is practised by GPs, is a recognised clinical discipline. Family medicine is devoted to the comprehensive and continuing care of individuals and their family.

It is a discipline that encompasses all ages, every organ system and different disease entities.

Many GPs undergo years of postgraduate training before they acquire qualifications that allow them to be admitted to the Register of Family Physicians.

With further years of training, they acquire other qualifications that allow them to be admitted to the Academy of Medicine, which is the same body that represents medical and dental specialists in Singapore.

GPs and hospital-based specialists play differing roles, bringing different skills to the healthcare landscape.

Both are essential.

In the present Covid-19 pandemic, most generalists are at the front lines attending to patients and performing a critical role in public health, in screening, testing and vaccination of patients. Some generalists also work in the hospital setting, whether acute or community hospitals.

When writing about issues in the public sphere, we expect that effort be made to check the facts. In a civil discourse, this is the responsible thing to do.

Adjunct Assoc Prof Tan Tze Lee
President, College of Family Physicians Singapore

Adjunct Assoc Prof Tan Boon Yeow
Chairman, Chapter of Family Medicine Physicians,
Academy of Medicine, Singapore

Prof Teo Eng Kiong
Master, Academy of Medicine, Singapore

Dr Tan Yia Swam
President, Singapore Medical Association

Dr Ruth Lim
Director, Primary & Community Care Division
Ministry of Health