A family doctor is a physician who specializes in family medicine, and provides comprehensive primary health care in a variety of health care settings (family practice, hospital, emergency department, long-term care facility, and more).
Family doctors have training in all areas of medicine, and provide care from head to toe and from birth to end of life. They focus on the health of the whole person across their lifespan, building a relationship with their patients to provide the best possible care. They also consider the needs of each patient and their family, the entire practice population, and the community.
Family doctors are the foundation of collaborative family practice teams—they provide leadership and work closely with the health professionals who are part of the team.
A FAMILY DOCTOR CAN:
- Diagnose and treat health issues, including urgent health concerns and ongoing conditions.
- Manage complex illnesses.
- Provide health screening and preventative care.
- Order and interpret tests.
- Prescribe medications.
- Perform exams and minor surgical procedures.
- Make referrals and coordinate care with specialists and other health care providers.
Adapted from the Nova Scotia College of Family Physicians and the College of Family Physicians of Canada.