- noun in the UK, health services offered directly to individuals by GPs, dentists, opticians and other health professionals who may also refer a patient on to specialists for further treatment
- (written as Primary Care)Primary care is that care provided by doctors and other generalists, including nurses, who are usually based in the community (as distinct from hospitals) who practise as generalists (see General Practitioner). A primary care professional (not always a physician) will frequently coordinate the care of ambulatory patients across various clinical (e.g. dental, ophthalmic or nursing care) and other local non-clinical professionals (e.g. social services). They also serve as the first point of contact (gatekeepers) to the health care system as a whole. They refer patients judged to be more appropriately diagnosed and treated in other parts of the system. Primary care services commonly include health promotion, disease prevention, vaccination, family planning, health maintenance, counselling, patient education and the initial diagnosis and first-line treatment of acute and chronic illnesses that are deemed not to require referral to a hospital-based specialist.