General Practitioner
A general practitioner is a medical doctor or
veterinarian who has a general practice. General
practice is an old term for a medical practice in which
all types of medical problems are seen (either singly or
in combination), including those that are acute and
chronic. They also provide preventative health care and
health education in males and females across all ages.
Prior to the 1970s, the term general practitioner and
family practitioner were synonymous in the U.S.
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In the 1970s, however, general practitioners were replaced by family practitioners
because the latter have broader training (e.g., a post-graduate residency training program
in family medicine) and needed to be eligible for board certification, which became
required to receive payment for services and to be granted hospitalization.

Board certified means that one has been recognized by a board of peers (other doctors
in one's area of study) to meet the rigorous standards necessary to practice in a specific
field of study. In Europe, family practice is often still referred to as general practice.
General practitioner is abbreviated as GP.

General practitioner comes from the Latin word "genus" meaning "household," and the
Greek word "praktikos" meaning "practice." Put the two words together and you have
"class practice," where class refers to a group.
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