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India has grown by leaps and bounds in the medical field and to serve gratitude to the healthcare providers, the “Doctor’s Day” is celebrated every year on 1 st of July. With the advancement in technology and better understanding of critical diseases the current day doctors have become more as an organ specific doctors. In fact, the precision, depth of knowledge and expertise has advanced to such an extent that doctors nowadays are more concerned about the organs of their specializatio rather than the diseased patient as a whole. The clinical acumen has been replaced by the battery of tests and investigations, clinical judgement has been replaced by the machine generated reports and the personal touch of hands has been replaced by the robotic interventions.

Although these developments have decreased the morbidity and mortality to a greater extent yet at the same time they have put an additional burden on pocket of patients and widened the gap between doctor and patient.

The doctor-patient relationship that used to be the keystone of care and a driving force of faith, reliability and integrity has got affected to such an extent that every other day one or the other doctor is facing litigation for one reason or the other.

There is no doubt about the fact that all these advancements in medical field are for the welfare of diseased ones, but as doctors we need to be compassionate and understand the limitations of patients and their families as well. It is our moral duty to unbiasedly discuss the various modalities of treatment and offer the best choice out of all the available modalities keeping in view the financial status, overall condition and volition of patient as well as family. The family doctors who are well versed with the patients and their attendants in their locality need to be kept in a loop before taking the final decision. Keeping in view the role played by family doctors in society, they are the heart of this healthcare system and provide primary as well as secondary healthcare services at the door steps of each and every family. They are the sole mediators of fading doctor-patient relationship and apart from being the messengers of healing touch they are also an able linkers of various awareness programmes between the policy makers and beneficiaries at ground level. Be or not be the pandemic, the family doctors have always been on the forefront and despite the limitations in resources and/or facilities, they have always worked for the welfare of health of individuals, and of society at large. Keeping in view, the pivotal role they play in society and especially the way they managed the patients and their families during Covid crisis, the theme of National Doctors day in 2022 is “Family Doctors on the Front Line”.

As innovations in interventional and surgical modalities along with the advancement in drug therapies are happening, the family physicians have an additional and complex role to play.

Rather than limiting themselves to the front line, they need to abreast with the latest advancements and be part of a team including specialists and super specialists for the complete, coordinated and evidence based care of the diseased ones. The role of family doctor is thus not only limited to promoting various awareness programmes and managing diseases, but also to act as a guide and direct the diseased ones at right time, to right hands, with right intention for complete and ethical based care before it gets too late for the family to shift and for the super specialist to be of help.

Since they are the first contact of family and influence the decision making, they are the right persons to address health related issues in family. Also in case of any urgency or emergency, which can’t be handled at local level, they can be the real lifesavers by timely referral to the experts of field for proper and advanced care. The need of an hour in health care at this crucial juncture when we have a fading patient- doctor relationship is this coordinated effort of family doctor in front and the Specialist / Super Specialist in back so that the diseased patient gets the ethical and evidence based clinical treatment.

Dr. Pawan Suri
Director & Chief Cardiologist
Global Hospital, Jalandhar

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