Family physicians define their individual scope of practice on the basis of community needs and their own interests in medicine (Rosser 2002). This may not include hospital in-patient care. If provision of this care is the only formal connection between family physicians and hospitals, the opportunity for rich partnerships, community leadership and innovative activity will be lost. Whether or not family physicians feel that their methods of practice can include participating in hospital in-patient care, community-based family physicians and hospitals would benefit from mutual support and collaboration in our changing healthcare system. Hospitals, as social pillars and hubs of medical activity, can be a great influence and supporter of family physicians and primary healthcare, which will in turn improve the health of their communities.
This paper will discuss general linkages between family physicians and hospitals and the development of a specific program to enhance these linkages created at a large community hospital in Ontario.
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