The 1st Primary Care Conference, organized by the UNIC Medical School, was successfully concluded on Saturday, 20 May 2023. The Conference brought together General Practitioners from all around Cyprus, who work as Personal Doctors (PD) in the General Healthcare System (GHS). It covered a wide range of current medical topics, such as subclinical hypothyroidism, new drugs for diabetes management, and the use of online and telemedicine services. The Conference addressed legal and organizational issues that concern PDs, and included a workshop on enhancing communication skills.

Upon the successful conclusion of the Conference, the Cyprus Society of General Medicine, the Cyprus Association of Family Doctors, and the Cyprus Society of Internal Medicine, agreed that Family Medicine emerges as a necessary and significant pillar of GHS, and requires continuous advocacy to achieve the rightful position it deserves. They released an announcement following the conference emphasizing the need for central support to ensure the effectiveness of GHS. Additionally, they mentioned the need for the establishment of a more direct communication between PDs and specialist doctors that will enable more effective patient management at all levels. Communication among PDs themselves is also crucial, as it allows for the development of a common healthcare policy and long-term goals. Informing patients about their rights and obligations is necessary to create a protected environment, where patients feel secure when utilizing the healthcare system.

Furthermore, PDs emphasized the importance of focusing on the quality rather than just the quantity of referrals. This will ensure that patients receive appropriate care and treatment according to their specific needs. The heterogeneity observed among healthcare providers and the quality of services needs to be addressed through continuous education and via the establishment of minimum requirements for the services provided. At the same time, criteria should be established for the technical infrastructure to ensure the provision of quality healthcare services.

Lastly, PDs state that the introduction of clinical guidelines, and the establishment of clear referral procedures at all levels of primary and secondary care, will help achieve homogeneity and improvement in healthcare.

Dr Dionysis Vaidakis, Coordinator of the MSc in Family Medicine programme, expressed his satisfaction on the success of the conference, stating: “Our goal was to bring together as many family doctors as possible, and create opportunities for further collaboration and education. I can say that judging by the participation in this inaugural event, we have achieved this to a great extent.”

The Conference was organized by the Department of Primary Care and Population Health of the Medical School.