Transition to family practice in Turkey

J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2008 Spring;28(2):106-12. doi: 10.1002/chp.167.


Introduction: Turkey's primary health care (PHC) system was established in the beginning of the 1960s and provides preventive and curative basic medical services to the population. This article describes the experience of the Turkish health system, as it tries to adapt to the European health system. It describes the current organization of primary health care and the family medicine model that is in the process of implementation and discusses implications of the transition for family physicians and the challenges faced in meeting the needs for health care staff. In Turkey a trend toward urbanization is evident and more staff positions in rural PHC centers are vacant. Shortages of physicians and an ineffective distribution of doctors are seen as a major problem. Family medicine gained popularity at the beginning of the 1990s, as a specialty with a 3-year postgraduate training program. Medical practitioners who are graduates of a 6-year medical training program and are already working in the PHC system are offered retraining courses. Better working conditions and higher salaries may be important incentives for medical practitioners to sign a contract with the social security institution of Turkey.

Discussion: The lack of well-trained primary care staff is an ongoing challenge. Attempts to retrain medical practitioners to act as family physicians show promising results. Shortness of physician and health professionals and lack of time and resources in primary health care are problems to overcome during this process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Family Practice*
  • Health Care Reform
  • Humans
  • Physicians / supply & distribution*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Turkey
  • Urbanization
  • Workforce