Strengthening primary health care through primary care doctors: the design of a new national Postgraduate Diploma in Family Medicine
Keywords: Primary health care, primary care doctors, general practitioners, physician’s role, graduate medical education
AbstractStrengthening primary health care is a national priority in South Africa, in order to improve quality of care and health outcomes, reduce inequity and to pave the way for National Health Insurance. The World Health Organization and World Health Assembly both recommend the inclusion of a primary care doctor with postgraduate training in Family Medicine in the primary healthcare team. Currently, medical practitioners without postgraduate training, and those who may need re-orientating and upskilling for the future re-engineered primary care system, are the largest pool of doctors in South Africa. Most of these doctors are of an age and at a stage in their careers where it is unlikely that they will train to be a family physician. This article reports on a national process to design a Postgraduate Diploma in Family Medicine which will meet the learning needs of primary care doctors in both the public and private sectors as they prepare for the future. A year-long process included two national stakeholder workshops, a survey of learning needs and two additional expert workshops before consensus could be reached on the design of the new diploma programme. The future roles and competencies required of primary care doctors, learning outcomes congruent with these roles, and an educational design, which could be delivered at scale commensurate with the national need by all of the relevant higher education institutions, were envisaged during this process. The design of this diploma, presented here, will now be developed into a revised or new programme by the higher education institutions, and implemented from 2016 onwards. (Full text available online at www.medpharm.tandfonline.com/ojfp) S Afr Fam Pract 2016; DOI: 10.1080/20786190.2015.1083719
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