What is Primary Care?

Many people ask, what is Primary Care?

is the name given to the healthcare that is delivered to people on a daily basis. Primary Care covers basic child health services, routine vaccinations, eye health, blood tests, and other general medical services. Primary Care in the UK is the first point of call for people when there is a medical problem that they need to be seen to. This could be a chronic illness that they require routine care for or something acute such as a minor injury.

Primary care is given by the main healthcare provider, which here in the UK is the National Health Service, the NHS. This is the initial contact a patient has for a medical problem, which is likely to be a GP (General Practitioner), a nurse (be it a general nurse or Paediatric), a pharmacist, or another kind of general medical practitioner. Then, depending on the nature of the condition, the patient will then be referred to as the correct point of care – named secondary or tertiary care.

In addition to NHS Primary Care being the first port of call for people to then be treated, or referred, it also covers clinics for chronic conditions such as asthma clinics and general mental health services. Most services covered in a Community Health Centre would be considered Primary Care; family planning, blood tests, routine baby check-ups, blood pressure check-ups, breast screening, smear tests, vaccinations, general mental health services, and more.

According to The World Health Organisation, Primary Care is an essential component when it comes to a healthcare provider as a structure. It is considered the front line, and should be strong and organised, functioning efficiently, in order for the other levels of care within the NHS to function properly.

It is necessary for Primary Care providers to hold a wide range of general medical knowledge, which in this case is of more value to everyone than strictly specialist knowledge. Other skills such as people skills and practical problem solving are also highly valuable. Primary Care is a worthwhile area of healthcare for many possible careers.

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