Does your child go to a pediatrician or a family practice doctor?

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Posted 1/28/2013 by busypea in NSBR Board
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PeaNut 52,817
October 2002
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Posted: 1/28/2013 1:23:58 PM
We were just informed that DS's pediatrician (who we adore) has decided to relocate out of state. There are a couple other pediatricians in the practice, but we don't particularly care of either of them. So, we're looking for a new doctor for him.

I'm considering switching him to our family practice doctor. DH and I both go to her for primary care and she's an excellent doctor. She treats the whole person, not just symptoms, and she will not hesitate to refer to a specialist when necessary. She does have lots of children in her practice and encourages whole families to use her so she can get a full health picture for everyone.

But, part of me says, no, it has to be a pediatrician! DS is (almost) 5.

What kind of doctor is your child's primary care provider?


PeaNut 510,579
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Posted: 1/28/2013 1:25:38 PM
A pediatrician but if I had a family doc like you describe I wouldn't hesitate to switch.

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PeaNut 48,862
September 2002
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Posted: 1/28/2013 1:26:30 PM
My kids go to a pediatrician but I wouldn't hesitate to take them to my primary care physician. The peds office is much, much closer and it's much more convenient for me.


PeaNut 147,319
May 2004
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Posted: 1/28/2013 1:26:34 PM
Sounds like your family practice doc is awesome, so I wouldn't have a problem switching. I assume she sees a lot of kids already?


PeaNut 34,917
April 2002
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Posted: 1/28/2013 1:26:50 PM
We have a pediatrician, but if I were in your shoes I wouldn't have a problem with a Family Practice doctor.


PeaNut 434,842
August 2009
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Posted: 1/28/2013 1:28:06 PM
We have a pediatrician. But if you like your PCP and she's used to seeing kids, then I don't see anything wrong with switching your son to her.


PeaNut 388,680
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Posted: 1/28/2013 1:29:20 PM
With a family doc like you describe and with him not being an infant/toddler, I would consider switching.

My DS goes to a pediatrician...I always went to a family doc as a kid.

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PeaNut 51,555
October 2002
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Posted: 1/28/2013 1:30:02 PM
In your situation, I would switch to the family Dr. Our family Dr sees relatively few children, so we kept ds at a ped until he was about 11 or 12.

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PeaNut 114,614
November 2003
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Posted: 1/28/2013 1:31:38 PM
GP, because here pediatricians are only for severe or specialty cases.

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PeaNut 11,642
February 2001
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Posted: 1/28/2013 1:40:11 PM
We've always used a family practice rather than a pediatrician and I'm very happy with him.

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PeaNut 6,487
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Posted: 1/28/2013 1:41:57 PM
Our pediatrician retired when the twins were 13 yrs old, about 2 years ago. A family friend is a Family Practice DO, and so we take them to see him for anything routine- throat culture, ear infection, etc. If there's anything more serious in nature, our DO will refer us to a specialist as needed.

At 5 yrs old, I think I'd look for a new pediatrician. Now, at 15 yrs old, I think a family practice is fine. Guess I'm swimming upstream against the masses!


PeaNut 411,280
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Posted: 1/28/2013 1:42:39 PM
ODS will be 13 in a month. We switched him to our family practice doc at 8. YDS is 21 months and sees a pediatrician. He will switch to our family practice doc later like his brother did. ODS wanted a male physician and our ped is female. ODS was the one who requested to switch to our family practice doc. It's worked well for us.

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PeaNut 217,886
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Posted: 1/28/2013 1:47:13 PM
Maybe you could talk with your doctor? I would imagine she would know how she feels about treating kids, and her scope of knowledge to deal with the "kid" stuff that comes up?


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PeaNut 450,860
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Posted: 1/28/2013 1:57:01 PM

A pediatrician but if I had a family doc like you describe I wouldn't hesitate to switch

We take our kids to a pediatrician but I think in your shoes I wouldn't mind switching to your doc. My DH and I go to different primary care docs and the girls both go to the pediatrician. We love our ped, and I'd be sad if she retired or moved before our girls were both aged out of her care.


PeaNut 393,905
October 2008
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:06:10 PM
Mine go to a family physician.

When my older 2 were little I took them to a pediatrician and wouldn't hear of doing otherwise. I wanted someone who specialized in kids.

We moved to where we are now and I got in with this practice. Pediatricians in the area had a wait list for new patients so I took the kids to my PCP in the meantime. I ended up LOVING the entire office and have kept my kids there. I couldn't be happier.

Like you stated, my PCP is amazing. He looks at absolutely everything....physical, mental, spiritual (which is important to us).
He even does OB/GYN and was my obstetrician while I was pregnant with #3, delivered #3, and has taken care of him since.

The pediatricians we had previously were wonderful doctors but our current doctor is just as capable and caring as they were.

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PeaNut 52,817
October 2002
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:06:25 PM

Maybe you could talk with your doctor? I would imagine she would know how she feels about treating kids, and her scope of knowledge to deal with the "kid" stuff that comes up?

We've already spoken to her. Most of her practice is family groups and most of those include children. She said about 40% of her patients are kids. I'm sure she's totally competent with kids. I am not sure why I'm having reservations about this. I think she's a very skilled doctor with great bedside manner. I'm having some mental barrier about not going to a pediatrician, for some reason.


PeaNut 129,041
February 2004
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:19:07 PM
We all go to the family doctor. Even when my twins were born, the family doctor came to the hospital to check them out. It's the family dr that suspected my ds had pyloric stenosis and had us in for an ultrasound and upper GI the next day. And they helped us get him set up for surgery and followed up with us afterwards. The dr said he'd only seen it 3 or 4 times in his career, but he still caught it for us.

They've done all the immunizations for us too. Best part is the office is .5 mile from my house.

Needless to say, I've been very happy with my choice .

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PeaNut 156,993
July 2004
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:21:54 PM
In your scenario? I'd switch him to the family doctor.

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PeaNut 41,743
July 2002
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:25:37 PM
We only found one pediatrician that we loved, and she moved. Once she did, we switched the girls to our family care doctor (DD2 has never been to a pediatrician). We've been extremely happy with the care we've received and it's pretty convenient when we're all sick.

I grew up going to a family doctor, not a pediatrician, so I had no qualms at all.

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PeaNut 475,479
July 2010
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:26:23 PM
All three of my boys see our family doctor. He's amazing and sounds very much like yours, in his approach to our health care. We went this route when we were faced with a very similar situation to yours about 3 years ago and haven't looked back once!!
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PeaNut 89,393
June 2003
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:26:40 PM
My children have been with a Family Practice since day one.

I've been with a family practice as far back as I can remember. (The same one we all see now.)


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PeaNut 44,870
August 2002
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:26:58 PM
We've never taken our kids to a ped for regular care. Not necessary. For specialties like a pediatric cardiologist? Yup.

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PeaNut 52,817
October 2002
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Loc: Oregon

Posted: 1/28/2013 2:29:05 PM
Ok, you've convinced me. We're going to do it. If we feel like it's not working out, we can always switch to a new pediatrician.

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PeaNut 453,111
January 2010
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:29:22 PM
Mine started with pediatricians. The whole office was great and we only left the practice when we moved. If we hadn't moved we'd be going there until they age out.

We tried a few new peds in our new area and finally found one everyone liked, and he retired after we'd been seeing him for a year or so. The group automatically transferred the kids over to my gp and I really like her so I just left that as is. We've been happy with that decision.

My mom is a nurse practitioner with a family practice and she sees a lot of kids. Often she sees the whole family rather than just the parents.
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PeaNut 226,155
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:29:55 PM
I had to laugh when I saw your question.

My DD recently turned 18. I thought that you stopped going to a pediatrician when you turned 18, but that is not the case with our insurance. As long as she has never seen an HMO adult medicine doctor, she can continue under the care of a peds until her 22 birthday.

I thought she would want to move over to adult medicine, but she informed me that that was NOT the case. She says that she has seen adult drs and they are nowhere as near kind and compassionate as kids' drs. Too, since she is only 4'10", she is more comfortable on the smaller scaled medical equipment. Who'd have thought?

We did use GPs for all of our family before we went with our insurance and we loved our Drs. We actually joined the insurance plan we did because our drs were on it. DD's plan changed to a HMO, though, and she started seeing a pads dr and loved her. Either way, we were happy with our choices.


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PeaNut 150,880
June 2004
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:33:39 PM
Our DD goes to a pediatrician.

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PeaNut 25,575
December 2001
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:37:03 PM
We've always used a family practice doctor. I like that we have one-stop doctoring. Our doctor knows all of our medical histories and takes that into consideration when treating the kids since I have an auto-immune disease. He delivered all three girls. I only had one doctor number to memorize. We our doctor.

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PeaNut 479,777
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:45:33 PM
My children (13.5 and 11) go to a pediatrician. He has been their doctor since birth, and because of that, barring anything like him retiring or moving or us moving, they will continue to go to him. They've both had some health issues that he had been through with us, and he knows their health history like no one else.

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PeaNut 65,852
January 2003
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:47:58 PM
My husband, 9 year old and 16 year old all see the same GP.

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PeaNut 308,186
April 2007
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:56:31 PM
Ours will stay with a pediatrician until their late teens. To me, it's like seeing a specialist in issues specific to their age and development. Our ped. has been seeing babies and children for 25 years. He's going to have more experience in these issues than a family doc who sees both adults and children (actually, probably more skewed toward adults).

The only advantage I could see to all going to a family doc is if you have issues that are family-wide/impact the whole family where the doctor seeing the whole picture would be beneficial to each patients' care. Or if there were no good peds available, I would prefer a good family doc over a so-so ped.

But I'm clearly in the minority


PeaNut 251,861
March 2006
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Posted: 1/28/2013 3:01:13 PM
Both of my girls (9 and 6) go to family practice. What influenced my decision was that the group I put them in with were residents at the hospital that I worked at so I knew them all since they were interns. I knew the training that they received was top-notch and also had many occasions to work with them when I was an RN in the ED. What better vantage point can there

Plus, their doc owed me: I took care of him as a patient one night. Had to give him a shot in the butt, a story that he tells to this day. I think he likes to embarass be because he's very nice to look at



PeaNut 285,775
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Posted: 1/28/2013 3:03:17 PM
I switched both kids at puberty. DD I thought needed a female Dr that she can get to know before she needs to start yearly exams and ask questions if needed. Just so it is not a shock of a strange person.
DS same thing. He sees a male Dr that DH uses. Once he started changing it was time for Dad to take him in to see the DR.
I think they both were in 6th grade. If I had a practice I liked at the time I would not hesitate going to a GP.

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PeaNut 114,407
November 2003
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Posted: 1/28/2013 3:17:51 PM
We switched to family practice when our youngest was around 10

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PeaNut 87,597
May 2003
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Posted: 1/28/2013 3:31:27 PM
My daughters are 9, 13 and 15 and they go to the pediatrician. They will go there until they turn 18. My 15 yr. old does sports at school, so she just goes to the sports physicals at school like most of the other kids do. Once they turn 18, they will be in college, so they probably won't go to the doctor as much.

My husband grew up going to a family doctor. He saw a male doctor, but he is from a small town, so there probably weren't many for him to choose from. He had a great doctor, so he is better than anyone I know with keeping up with doctor visits as and adult!

I think if you like your family doctor, that's a great idea to go to her. I went to a pediatrician until I was 16 and she retired. Then I went to college, law school and didn't get sick much at all. So I didn't have a doctor again until I was pregnant when I was 28.

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PeaNut 51,689
October 2002
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Posted: 1/28/2013 3:33:51 PM
Family doctor all the time. Over here you only see a pediatrician for specialist care. And I assume they charge accordingly! I've never actually taken my kids to a pediatrician.

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PeaNut 151,660
June 2004
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Posted: 1/28/2013 3:35:54 PM
Both of our kids go to a pediatrician.

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Posted: 1/28/2013 3:43:25 PM
My husband and I see a family doctor who I love BUT he doesn't see kids under 16 AND I'm not certain I'd want him to. Knowing that the kid's doctor has childhood diseases on the brain at all times means quicker diagnosis and a standard operating procedure for dealing with either chronically ill kids, vaccines or other childhood ailments.

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PeaNut 170,344
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Posted: 1/28/2013 5:23:26 PM
Our children go to an independent pediatrician and we absolutely adore her.

She was with the local pediatric clinic in town when we first moved here. We loved her, but she was very difficult to get an appointment with. Most of the time we ended up seeing a nurse practitioner.

Last May? our Pediatrician broke away from the clinic to open her own. She had so many patients at the other clinic and was allotted just a few minutes per each scheduled appt. She didn't like that very much. She left the practice, took a few months off and opened her own doors in September.

I think she only sees 6-7 patients a day. Appts are between 30 and 60 minutes long. She takes her time, asks lots of questions, and looks at the whole child, not just the symptom that brought you in that day. She believes in Integrative medicine. She writes a prescription when she needs to, but likes to look at other options too. When our littlest one got a cold last December, she had us make a tea out of dried thyme and honey. We stored it in the fridge and gave our daughter a tablespoon of it every couple of hours.

Her new office is over near the Hawthorne athletic club. I can send you the link to her website so you can check it out.

She's very nice. My husband and I were having lunch at a Thai place by the courthouse and she walked by the window. She stopped, waved and then came in to the restaurant to say hello and ask how the kids were. And the day we got married, our daughter needed to be seen. So after the ceremony we took her over, and she had a beautiful bouquet of flowers for us that she had New Season's put together. She is very invested in her patients.


PeaNut 427,403
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Posted: 1/28/2013 5:31:41 PM
My kids ped retired when dd was 4 and ds was 1.5 so they started with our family dr who is great. Except for the usual visits for shots I can count on one hand the number of times either of them have been to the Dr so it works for us


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PeaNut 266,636
June 2006
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Posted: 1/28/2013 5:53:09 PM
Both but only because of special needs.

The majority of kids here do not have peds, just a family doctor

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PeaNut 99,963
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Posted: 1/28/2013 6:25:59 PM
Mine go to a family practitioner. He delivered both of my children and has always been their doctor. He's an excellent doctor and I like that he knows my family well.



PeaNut 577,483
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Posted: 1/28/2013 6:45:44 PM
We have a family practice Dr similar to yours that we love. Our kids still go to a pediatrician.

Why I won't switch my kids - nurse triage line, separate well child & sick child waiting areas, they hold sick kids slots every day if we have an urgent need to see a Dr we have an appt within an hour or less 99% of the time, our FP Dr typically runs late for appts as he delivers a ton of babies & we rarely wait long for our Ped.
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PeaNut 66,332
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Posted: 1/28/2013 6:55:30 PM
My daughters are adults now, but when they were young, we always took them to our family practice doctor because I liked the fact that she knew and treated the whole family. And now as adults, they still have that same doctor.

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PeaNut 83,119
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Posted: 1/28/2013 7:21:02 PM
He went to a pediatrician until age four, when said pediatrician announced that he would no longer take insurance of any kind. Pay out of pocket and then apply for reimbursement at whatever the insurance company would pay. Nope, not for this working family.

We switched him to our family practice doctor and it's been fine ever since.

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PeaNut 290,599
January 2007
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Posted: 1/28/2013 8:23:52 PM
I grew up with a family dr. but decided to have a pediatrician for DD. I went to the "one" that everyone I knew used. Never felt right to me-- didn't like the nurses, staff, etc. So I switched to a different pediatrician and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. We both adore her! DD is turning 17 in a few months and has already asked the ped. how long she can keep coming to her. She doesn't want to stop at 18!

In a situation like yours though, I wouldn't hesitate to switch to your family doc. I wish I could find myself a family doc I liked as much as I like DD's ped!

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PeaNut 535,254
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Posted: 1/28/2013 8:28:23 PM
My ds (16) goes to a pediatrician. It's actually the same one that I went to years ago! I figure that he has seen everything after all these years!
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PeaNut 133,429
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Posted: 1/28/2013 8:38:36 PM
The boy's pediatrician had to retire due to illness when the boy was approx. 3. He saw the ped. who took over the patients a number of times through about 10 years of age. But, he saw our family Dr just as much during that time period.

We transitioned over to the family doctor, because the ped. kept going through partners and you never knew who you were going to see. I chose a pediatrician's office that was a single Dr for a reason. I was just so done with that office.

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PeaNut 304,110
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Posted: 1/28/2013 8:39:14 PM
The girls, who have relatively no health issues at all go to my GP.

The twins, who were preemies and have a variety of issues, preemie-related and otherwise have always gone to a paediatrician.

In my experience, as long as your GP's practice has a varied age base, for most problems you should be safe enough to feel that they are getting good care. Should your GP's main patient base be those who are primarily older...I might rethink that.

I am speaking from a Canadian perspective, but my GP will refer out to a paed if there is a particular issue needing care beyond their scope.

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PeaNut 69,453
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Posted: 1/28/2013 8:44:22 PM
We just recently switched dd (13) from a pediatrician to a family dr. I hadn't been happy with her ped for a few years, but since she doesn't see a dr very often, switching wasn't a high priority. We went to this family dr for her sports physical and I was much happier, plus dh goes to this office, so we switched.


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PeaNut 78,429
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Posted: 1/28/2013 8:44:36 PM
Funny enough my two older kids 17 and 16 go to the pediatrician and my four year old goes to my family practice doctor. Long story, but it all works for us and happy with all the results.

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