Patient at their GP

Your Family Doctor – The Changing Face of General Practice

In 1948, General Practice was very much a “cottage industry” run out of GPs’ own houses. There were no multidisciplinary teams and no administrative or allied health support.

Before the advent of the NHS, many people were unable to afford a visit to the doctor, receiving most of their care from pharmacies.

Infectious diseases such as diphtheria, polio, measles and TB were much more common, and formed a bigger part of the GPs’ workload.

Family doctors had mixed feelings about the new NHS, though in the end they voted with their feet to join.

Over the last 70 years there has been significant changes in General Practice.

“Single-handed” GPs are few and far between, and a wide range of staff now work in GP surgeries or in close co-operation with the GP. This includes reception staff, practice managers, practice nurses, health care assistants, phlebotomists, but sometimes also pharmacists, mental health workers and social workers.

In 2018, 60% of Scotland’s GPs are women – a huge shift since 1948.

In recent decades the caseload and severity of illness dealt with by general practice has shifted, driven by an ageing population and an increase in chronic physical illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, along with mental ill health.

As General Practice evolves further we’ll see new multidisciplinary teams providing extra support to free up GPs to become the expert generalists that they are trained to be.

Former Levenmouth GP, Dr Stuart McLaren, who also had spells in the East Neuk, talks about what life was like in his early days as a GP, and how things have evolved over the years. 


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The changing dress-code of a GP

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Former Levenmouth GP, Dr Stuart McLaren, talks about the shift away from formal dress, and the ups and downs of wearing a "fancy suit."


Retired Levenmouth GP, Dr Stuart McLaren, talks about the growing awareness of mental health and how services are coming together to provide better support.



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