World Family Doctor Day: "We take care of a person from 0 to 100 years old"

"Always there to care" is the motto of this year's World Family Doctor Day, established by Wonca - World Organization of Family Doctors in 2010. A motto that the family doctor and coordinator of the General and Family Medicine course at the Católica Medical School, João Sequeira Carlos, says reflects well what a family doctor is.

"The always, which the motto refers to, gives the notion of continuity of care. The near indicates the proximity to the patients, as the care is first line and then, of course, the care", says the doctor, adding that "the family doctor is a specialist in general medicine who deals with comprehensive health care throughout a person's life, from 0 to 100 years old".

Recognising the paradox of the definition, João Sequeira Carlos explains that general practice, despite being generalist, "is a speciality, because it has its own body of knowledge, skills and interventions focused on the person, as a whole, and which are applied every day in a medical appointment".

"The clinical dimension is what we are most concerned with", says the doctor, but "we do not give up the other dimensions, such as research, training and teaching". And an example of the importance given to training, he adds "is the partnership between Hospital da Luz and the Universidade Católica Portuguesa, for the pre-graduate training of students from the Católica Medical School."

"I strongly believe in this programme and that is why I have been involved in the project since the beginning", says the director of the General and Family Medicine service at Hospital da Luz Lisboa.

About the Integrated Master in Medicine of the Universidade Católica, João Sequeira Carlos points out that the programme "emerges with the innovation of putting on the agenda, in a very strong way, the importance of the relationship with the patient, of focusing care on the person and not on their organs and fragmented diseases, and looking at each patient as a whole".

A relationship that, according to the doctor, only works if the communication between doctor and patient is good, thus allowing to better clarify, during the appointment, "the so-called hidden agendas and non-specific symptoms, in order to better help the patient."

A doctor for 24 years, he confesses that he is still moved when a patient tells him that "just by going to the consultation they already feel better" and smiles when recalling the comment of a patient that illustrates the way people feel about proximity care - "better only if the Doctor lived in our house."

But if this type of comment makes him certain that he is "in the right profession", he confesses that the lack of family doctors worries him, and that "although it is not only a Portuguese reality, it is still serious".

"I have always dreamed of a national health system in which our patients would not have to feel the difference between going to the public, private, social or cooperative sector, and that going to the doctor would always be a privileged experience, of great satisfaction and enchantment", concludes João Sequeira Carlos.

Categorias: Faculdade de Medicina

Thu, 19/05/2022