From past to present
The General Practice speciality is a relatively young discipline working independently since 1978 in the CR. On January 29th, 1979, during the Czech Medical Association (CzMA) meeting where the Physicians´ Association representatives were present, the application for founding independent scientific GP society was accepted. The inaugurate meeting of the GP Society (SVL) took place at the Medical House (Lékařský dům) in Prague in April 12th, 1980. Jan Vaněk, M.D. a general practitioner from Prague, was elected as the first chairman.
The next year, during the first conference of general practice in Hradec Králové, an action plan and scientific program for the new GP Society was decided upon.
In the beginning – during the existence of Czechoslovakia – the SVL had two chapters – one Czech and one Slovak, working independently with their own boards. However there was one “Federal board” and several GP meetings were organised bilaterally. After the division of Czechoslovakia into two parts in 1992, the Czech GP and the Slovak GP separated into fully independent bodies.
After creation of the GP the priority was to have a general practice profile as a truly independent medical speciality. The GP vocational training was specified. Under the auspices of the GP the first Department of General Practice of the Postgraduate Medical School in Prague was created. (Departments of General Practice at Czech Universities were established only in the last decade.)
The founders of the GP Society attempted to bring research to primary care. A medical information exchange was carried out during regular GP meetings in Prague – the so called “GP Working Days” and ever since, the annual GP conferences tradition was started as well.
In the medical reform year, 1990, the GP played an important role. The scientific GP Society (SVL) supported start and actions of the professional Czech GP Association (SPL) at a time when the attention of physicians was concentrated on technical, professional and trade union problems rather than medical science problems.
The reputation and authority of the GP increased together with the growth of itsmembership and the number of educational activities organised. The authority and respect of GP representatives during the multidisciplinary expert discussions is continuously growing as well – especially in the field of medical education and professional development of the GP speciality.
During the years of its existence the GP has cooperated with partner general practice organizations in Germany and Hungary occasionally organising trilateral meetings. The GP also became a member of many international academic and professional bodies (S.I.M.G., WONCA, E.A.N.A.) and GP representatives have been elected to important functions within these societies.
Recently the GP has been playing an important role in medical guideline creation; the GP is an innovator in the GP speciality concept and it acts as a partner in multidisciplinary discussions, both in medical competencies and GP work appreciation. GP representatives are invited to participate in many preventative programs. Recently GP representatives were co-authors in the screening program for colorectal carcinoma. Active cooperation in a breast cancer screening program has started. Many GPs have participated in prostate cancer research and detection or have participated in the epidemiology Helicobacter Pylori study etc. General practitioners publish under the auspices of GP, they act on behalf of the GP in national and international congresses and they also take a part in international working groups.
The GP is accredited by the Czech Medical Chamber to organize CME courses and seminars. The GP guarantee the national system of GP postgraduate education in the whole republic. The content of this education responds to the actual needs and demands of GPs. The annual conference tradition continues and GP participation increases every year.
A system of regional consultants (advisors) has been started. These regional consultants represent the GP speciality locally – they are thus logical partners in communication between the SVL board and local GPs and also important partners in negotiations with the local authorities. The regional advisors have through their activities also recently permitted increase an GP in the board functions.
More and more GPs require in depth and regular information on GP activities. This is the reason the board started and distributes the Newsletter (Kalendář SVL) which is published three times per year. The web page www.svl.cz was created as an important information and communication tool.
One interest of the GP specialization is to support medical research and implementation of the findings in everyday practice, thus the foundation “Nadace Praktik” has been established to support these activities.