Int J Family Med Prim Care | Volume 2, Issue 4 | Research Article | Open Access

Broadening the Role of General Practitioners (GPs): A Survey Examining Clinicians’ Perceptions of General Practice Education and Training in China

Zhou F1, Chi C2, Mai X1, Liang J1, Zhang X1, Hu X1, Zhang K1 and Xu D2,3*

1Department of General Medicine, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, China 2Department of Health Sciences, Curtin University, Australia 3Department of Medical Education & General Practice, The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, China

*Correspondance to: Xu D 

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Objective: Objective to learn about clinicians’ understanding of the role of the general practitioner so as to explore the methods and strategies for improvement of general practice education and training. Materials and Methods: A questionnaire was designed and randomly distributed to participating representatives of General Practice Branch of Guangdong Provincial Medical Association and then forwarded by the representatives to participating clinicians between December 27th, 2017 and January 15th, 2020. A total of 1,022 completed questionnaires were collected. The main contents of the questionnaires included demographic information of the participants, their understanding of the General Practitioners’ (GPs) role, and suggestions for education and training in general practice. The questionnaire results were derived by EXCEL, and its descriptive statistical analysis and chisquare test were performed by using SPSS 22.0 statistical software. Results: A total of 1022 people participated in the survey and completed the questionnaire. 87.4% of them believed that general practice should be established as an undergraduate course. Those who understood the current training model of GPs accounted for 50.9%, and those who had participated in general practice teaching, outpatient service, or teaching accounted for 62.6%. More than 70% of the respondents understood the responsibilities of GPs and the ongoing clinical relationship between GPs and the specialist. 93.3% of the interviewees thought that the diagnosis, treatment, and counseling of mental illness was one of the skills that GPs should master. Among the respondents who are GPs or GP trainees, 35.8% have significant concerns about the country's policies and support systems for GPs. 10.9% of the respondents believed that support for GPs should be improved to include career promotion opportunities and specific salaries agreements, while 5.2% of the respondents believed that social recognition of GPs should be enhanced through policy development and public education. 80.6% of the respondents said they trusted the competency of their current GPs. Conclusion: Further recognition of general practice as a medical specialty is required, and the education and training models of GPs is highly recommended to start from the implementation of formal GP curriculum in the undergraduate course. In order to improve the service quality of GPs, there must be an increase in the number of competent GPs. We believe that it can be achieved through policy development and support for promotion of GP training and education. In addition, most medical staff agreed that the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness should be an essential skill for GPs’ holistic and quality service.


Community medicine, Family medicine, General Practice Training and education


Zhou F, Chi C, Mai X, Liang J, Zhang X, Hu X, et al. Broadening the Role of General Practitioners (GPs): A Survey Examining Clinicians’ Perceptions of General Practice Education and Training in China. Int J Fam Med Prim Care. 2021; 2(4): 1046.

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