The Society of General Practice (GP) (Společnost všeobecného lékařství – SVL) is an academic and scientific body for general practitioners in the Czech Republic. It has worked independently since 1980 when it was founded under the umbrella of the J. E. Purkyně Czech Medical Association (CzMA JEP, Česká lékařská společnost Jana Evangelisty Purkyně – ČLS JEP) www.cls.cz. It is the most influential Czech medical body and includes more than 130 specialist societies and over 100 local organizations. This umbrella association also publishes many medical journals. SVL is the largest organizational unit of CzMA JEP and SVL headquarters is located directly in the historic building belonging to CzMA JEP
For more than 30 years SVL has provided a platform for continuous medical education (CME), expert knowledge exchange, interdisciplinary cooperation, project development and implementation, primary care research and publications. SVL serves as a reference body for the Czech government and is represented in all relevant committees and working groups of the Ministry of Health. SVL supports the development of undergraduate education in medical schools and cooperates in the development and provision of postgraduate education. More than 90% of general practitioners in the Czech Republic are members of SVL.
General Practice is a relatively young discipline which has existed independently since 1978 in the Czech Republic. The request to found an independent scientific society for general practitioners was accepted at a meeting of Czech Medical Association (CzMA) on January 29th, 1979. The inaugural meeting of SVL was held at the Medical House (Lékařský dům) in Prague in on April 12th, 1980. Jan Vaněk, M.D. a general practitioner from Prague, was elected as the first chairman. Soon, an action plan and scientific programme for the new SVL was decided upon.
After the creation of SVL, the priority was to have a general practice profile as a truly independent medical speciality and to specify GP vocational training, which led to the establishment of the first Department of General Practice of at the Postgraduate Medical School in Prague.
During the existence of Czechoslovakia, SVL had both Czech and Slovak chapters, which worked independently. They were united through a “Federal Board” and several meetings were organised bilaterally. After the division of Czechoslovakia into two parts in 1992, the Czech SVL and the Slovak SVL separated into fully independent bodies.
In the changes that came after 1989, SVL played an important role both in maintaining the traditional role of CzMA and in ensuring the quality of care of newly independent doctors.
Since 2000, training in general practice has also become part of undergraduate teaching, and GP departments have begun to be established at some medical schools.
Working days and educational meetings organized by SVL have gradually grown into regular regional seminars and an annual national conference.
As the SVL's membership base has grown, so has the credibility and the respectability of its representatives in interdisciplinary discussions, expert meetings and, above all, in questions related to the concept of education and professional development of the field.
Attractiveness of general practice and pre-graduate education
SVL supports activities leading to increasing the attractiveness of the field and attracting interested students, especially from the ranks of medical school students. In this respect, it is successful and currently qualifies to general practice about 200 doctors a year. This is also reflected in the methodological and personnel support for GP teaching at medical schools. SVL has supported the development of textbooks for students and the publication of a comprehensive GP textbook. SVL declares its support for research in primary care and publications.
SVL working groups and infrastructure
SVL supports the development of sub-areas and professional networks, such as the Diabetes Group, the Rural Medicine Group or the working group for the development of ultrasound for use in GP (POCUS).
SVL has developed its regional infrastructure and provided so-called regional consultants for CME. Similarly, education consultants have recently emerged.
Continuous medical education
SVL plays a hegemonic role in the CME organization. SVL organizes webinars, regional seminars and two national conferences with the participation of about 1500 attendees. Practicus is a professional monthly magazine with a circulation of 6,000 copies, which the SVL sends to every doctor.
Another source of information for members is the website.
SVL as a partner of Ministry of Health
SVL is a partner of the Ministry of Health and insurance companies in the preparation and implementation of all preventive and quality programmes relevant to primary care, especially screening programmes.
Already in the 1990s, SVL was involved in international activities of general practice in Europe and globally. SVL became part of international organizations, most notably WONCA and its networks, and its representatives were promoted to important positions. Dr. Vaclav Benes served as WONCA Europe Vice President in the period 1997-2000.
SVL organized the WONCA Europe conferences in 1997 and 2017, and in 2013 it hosted the WONCA World Conference. This makes it one of the most successful organizers of conferences in the Czech Republic and internationally. In addition, several international events and meetings of the WONCA network have taken place in the Czech Republic since the beginning of the millennium; EURACT, EQuiP and EGPRN. SVL representatives are active in all major WONCA networks, in the European and World Councils. SVL has a plan to promote its international development.
Status as of 1.2.2024
Assoc.prof. Bohumil Seifert, Ph.D.
Scientific Secretary and Vice Chairman for International Affairs
WONCA (World Organization of National Colleges and Academies, sometimes abbreviated as World Organization of Family Medicine) is the largest and most prestigious organization of general practitioners. It has many regional branches with an overarching world committee headed by a president and a secretariat.
The European branch WONCA Europe brings together more than 30 member organizations (including our GP society) and represents more than 45,000 GPs in Europe. Only an organization of general practitioners which is deemed an "academic institution" and has a significant share of members from all GPs can become a member. We are proud that our GP society SVL has met all these criteria and has been a member of both WONCA Europe and the world WONCA since 1995.
WONCA Europe Committee is elected for 3 years with the same rules as in WONCA, including the principle that an individual can only be re-elected once. This guarantees a constant influx of "new blood", activity of members and progressive growth.
Since 1995, WONCA Europe has included previously independently operating organizations: EGPRN, the EURACT teachers' society and the working group dealing with the quality of care EQuiP.
EGPRN (European General Practice Research Network) brings together (mainly young) researchers. Any GP whose research paper is accepted for presentation at a working group meeting and who pays the minimum membership fees can become a member. The network's goal is to exchange research methodologies, participation in international studies and projects, as well as the preparation of basic information in many areas of clinical care and health care organization based on scientific evidence. Their activity, in addition to regular meetings, also includes the organization of courses, expert work, publications and a number of other activities.
EURACT (European Academy of Teachers) brings together teachers in the field. EURACT is a prestigious and traditional group that has a great influence on the creation of standards of teaching procedures and proposals for unification in the European region in undergraduate, postgraduate and lifelong learning systems. The group is very productive, annually publishing information in the form of books, manuals, CD-ROMs and interactive internet pages. However, the most important is its pressure on member countries to unify university and specialization curricula through the production of consensus materials setting minimum teaching criteria. EURACT took upon itself the organization of a discussion on redefining the basic features of the field of general practice in the changing conditions of current health systems and industrialized Europe.
EQuiP (European Association for Quality in General Practice/Family Medicine) was originally a working group and is now an independent organization integrated into ESGP. EquiP's purpose is the creation of a methodology of procedures leading to the improvement of the quality of the provided care, both from an organizational point of view and also in some clinical problems - for example, the creation of clinical standards. EQuiP publishes brochures summarizing the year-round activities, and members also publish basic best practices tested in the health systems of their countries.