Where is general practice heading?
This chapter describes the story of general practice. This role originated in specialist medical or surgical care and, for this reason, carries a main aim to diagnose and remove diseases. General practice naturally adapted to this reality and focused on the treatment of diseases in individuals. For many years general practice was left to find its own way separately from hospital care. This resulted in the idea that general practitioners help patients and their families with all aspects of their health. The College of General Practitioners, established in 1952, received its Royal charter in 1967. General practice began to be treated seriously. In contrast, Primary care organisations are large institutions with a co-ordinating role, employing large numbers of people and relating to a local health economy which includes other institutions such as hospitals. At the same time there has developed a strong emphasis on the use of networks to stimulate innovation throughout large areas.