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Ann Acad Med Singapore. 2008 May;37(5):421-5.

Translating the family medicine vision into educational programmes in Singapore.

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Department of Community, Occupational and Family Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore.


The core of the Family Medicine (FM) vision is patient-centred care, requiring specific education and vocational training. We traced how FM education started and what have been achieved. FM training began in 1971 with the formation of the College of General Practitioners Singapore. Previously, training consisted of self-directed learning, lunchtime talks and examination preparation courses run by hospital specialists. Formal FM vocational training programmes in the United Kingdom and Australia provided the model for a 3-year programme in 1988. The tripartite relationship between the local university, College of Family Physicians and Ministry of Health, together with a structured training programme, contributed to its success. To date, more than 240 Family Physicians in Singapore have been awarded the Masters in Medicine (FM) degree. The Graduate Diploma in Family Medicine programme (GDFM) was introduced in 2000 for Family Physicians who wished to practice at an enhanced level. This programme has trained 194 doctors since then. Behind the scenes, the following were important developments: counterculture with a difference, tripartite stake-holding, training the trainers and learning from others. For the FM undergraduate programme, our aim is to develop the knowledge base, core values and roles of the Family Physician. Sustaining the value of Family Medicine as a career choice is the enduring vision.

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