The Department of Primary Care Medicine was established in 1987 on the recommendation of a Board of Studies set up by the University Senate. There is a three-tier functions of the department: academic (both undergraduate and postgraduate), service and research.
The Primary Care Clinicwas set up concurrently in the University Hospital (presently known as University of Malaya Medical Centre, UMMC), and it ran a general outpatient clinic within the main block of the hospital. In July 1992, a new three-story building, Bangunan Rawatan Utama (Primary Care Block), was completed and it was situated in the front of main hospital block. The Walk-In Clinic (Klinik Am) and Family Clinic (Klinik Keluarga) are situated on the ground floor and first floor respectively while the department office is located at the second floor. Elsewhere in UMMC, the department has been popularly nicknamed “RUKA” (which stands for Rawatan Utama Klinik Am).
The Department of Primary Care Medicine is committed to teaching undergraduate students on the principles of primary care and equip them with the basic knowledge and skills to practice in a primary care setting. The students are attached to the Department during their clinical years, Phase IIIA (4 weeks) and Phase IIIB (3 weeks). The Department also coordinates the Community and Family Case Study programme, which runs longitudinally throughout the curriculum.
The 4-year postgraduate programme, which leads to the degree of Master of Family Medicine, was drawn up at the time the department was established. The first batch of masters candidates graduated in December 1989. At present, 89 candidates had graduated from this programme, and they are posted to the Government Health Centers throughout the country as Family Medicine Specialists (FMS). This programme consists of one and a half year of hospital posting at various clinical department, followed by one and a half year of attachment at the Department of Primary Care Medicine. The candidate spends their final year in the Health Centre. The candidate is required to undertake three examinations: Part I, II and III Examinations at the end of first, third and forth years respectively. A conjoint examination is held twice yearly in collaboration with the Department of Family Medicine of National University of Malaysia (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia) and Universiti Sains Malaysia.