Family planning: general practice and clinic services

J R Coll Gen Pract. 1985 Apr;35(273):199-200.


PIP: The growing trend in the UK toward family planning provision by general practitioners rather than physicians at community family planning clinics has been accompanied by a lack of cooperation and communication--even competition--between these 2 services. In general, clinics provide a wider range of contraceptive methods and personnel are more likely to have special training in counseling for psychosexual problems, abortion, and sterilization. On the other hand, general practitioners are often preferred because of their knowledge of a woman's medical history and longer office hours. Courses to update knowledge about contraception are an important asset for general practitioners. At times, however, it is in the best interests of the patient to be referred to a clinic by a general practitioner. If community clinics are to remain open, they must provide modern contraceptive technology and be able to deal with difficult problems. Pregnancy testing facilities should be available on the premises. Bureaucratic rules that make it difficult for individual clinic physicians to prescribe Depo-Provera, postcoital pills, or IUDs should be abolished. In addition, men should be welcomed. The future of the clinics is further dependent on the establishment of a proper career structure in community health. It is concluded that professionals working in both clinics and general practice should seek to improve their standards and work in greater cooperation.

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Services*
  • England
  • Family Planning Services*
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Humans