Family and community medicine, an underappreciated specialty

Maria Fernández, past president of the Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine (semFYC), has valued health and her specialty for the past 40 years. He also sent his congratulations to EL MÉDICO magazine for its 40 years.

On the occasion of EL MÉDICO’s 40th anniversary, could you take stock of your specialty over the past 40 years? What achievements have been made?

The balance of family and community medicine from these 40 years allows for a long talk, so I’ve probably left something in the pipeline. Family and community medicine appeared as early as the 1980s, and even then we had to fight hard to achieve primary care based on criteria of accessibility, longitudinality and comprehensiveness, in which a community approach from families was a fact. This idea grew little by little until it became a widely recognized specialty beyond our borders. This was despite the fact that we had to fight some fellows, not because they were not adequate in their studies, but because we realized that MFyC through MIR was the most appropriate way to apply for places that would facilitate quality PC .

Regarding SemFYC, what started as a seed company of 2,000 members has grown into a company with high international projection. It has established itself as the leading scientific society in the world of healthcare, the benchmark for family medicine and computing, with 22,000 members. And this has an impact on family and community medicine itself, because we have been able to be present in the decisions of health administrations, giving the point of view of doctors. And there is the recognition of the specialty as the only way to conduct specific training in General Medicine in our country, which has been mandatory since January 1995 throughout the European Union.

The MFyC medical specialist title was recognized and the specialized training program through the MIR is the only training route that allows practice in Spain in the National Public System. In addition, in 2002 the program went from three to four years through the MIR.

However, in the last ten years, despite the struggles and insistence of family doctors and pediatricians, through the AP forum, we have seen how, after COVID-19, it was put on the table that this reality that we expected is now practically impossible to save: FCM is becoming in a specialty that is undervalued and unwanted by medical students.

At the moment it is difficult to conduct continuous training, to attend conventions; no substitutes, we don’t have adequate quotas to be able to train our residents…

It is important that the relevance and importance of MF is recognized by the university, so we need to start teaching our students what it means to be a family doctor with a more general view of medicine. And for this we must create departments in the universities of Spain. Although it does not exist in practice in any of them, it exists as an area of ​​training, but only in some cases, given by family doctors themselves.

In terms of achievements, it should be noted that as a society we have grown and expanded on a national stage, but also on an international level, until we have become the leading scientific society in the world of health and a benchmark in the field of MF and AP . In addition, we are increasingly present and reference for the health administration, with participation in the Congress, the Senate, the Recovery table during the pandemic, in which the MoF was heard through semFYC.

On the other hand, we family physicians have also begun to be a point of reference during chronicity in a world whose future will require more attention to an older population, with many chronic patients, where the interrelationship between continuity of care and the hospital is priority.

Another achievement of semFYC is the penetration of health centers and MFs with research. We are pioneers in European projects and also in grants to promote research at this first level, something we believe is very relevant.

On the other hand, we have some values ​​that make us work independently of the pharmaceutical industry. And this independence is maintained in the content of our courses and the training we provide to all our partners. This is not to say that there is no connection to the industry. Quite the opposite: we understand that the role of industry is very important in the world of health, but always based on scientific evidence.

What has EL MÉDICO contributed to the healthcare landscape?

THE DOCTOR accompanies us in the development of the specialty and helps us make this prestige visible on its pages. On the other hand, in terms of recognition as a society, this magazine supports us, publishes our activities and participates in some courses.

The media who work in the health care field have something to say to appreciate the actions that the specialties perform, as well as to introduce them to those working in the health care system.

Congratulations to EL MÉDICO magazine

I want to congratulate the magazine El MÉDICO for its work all these years, as well as for appreciating the specialty of Family and Community Medicine, something that we still need to be more effective given the situation we are in. Also for the work that was done together with semFYC, transferring all the work that we have been doing.

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