• Family medicine is the main primary care medical specialty in Canada. It focuses on the individual patient within their family and the community contexts.
  • Family physicians deliver services across the entire spectrum of care, throughout a patient’s life.  Family medicine specialization consists of a blend of biomedical, behavioural, and social sciences, while employing a diverse range of cognitive and procedural skills in practice.
  • Family physicians deal with undifferentiated clinical problems presenting at an early stage.
  • In addition to acute disorders, which are sometimes life-threatening, family physicians also regularly confront cases of chronic disease, emotional problems and transient illnesses.
  • Family physicians deliver care across a wide spectrum of settings, including their offices, hospitals, long-term and other health care facilities and the patient’s home.
  • Family physicians play an important role in health promotion and illness prevention, coordinating care with other specialties and health professionals, and advocating on behalf of their patients with respect to the care and services they need in all other parts of the health care system.
  • Although all health professions provide valuable services to their patients and the health care system as a whole, family physicians fill a unique central leadership role not replicable by other professions.
  • Allied health professionals cannot serve as substitutes for family physicians. Rather, the value lies in complementary use of different professionals to the full extent of their scopes.

To learn more, read the CFPC’s Family Medicine Professional Profile, a position statement that defines the discipline of family medicine, describes the scope of practice and training for family physicians, and highlights our philosophy of care.

In addition, these resources illustrate the unique role of BC’s family physicians:

The role and value of family physicians in British Columbia

In February 2020, the BCCFP published a position paperFamily Doctors Care: The Role and Value of Family Physicians in British Columbia. The paper summarizes results of the public and member polling research we conducted through an independent research company in the summer of 2019. It also summarizes key findings from desk-side research on the role and value of family physicians.

The report highlights that “family physicians are the bedrock of the health care system and handle the majority of the health care issues that patients may have over their lifetime.” The report also argues that “change is required so family physicians can continue to support the health care system at the forefront and help patients with their health care concerns.”

The paper was prepared as part of our My Family Doctor Cares public awareness and advocacy campaign.