College definition of general practice

The general practitioner is the doctor with core responsibility for providing comprehensive and continuing medical care to individuals, families and the broader community. Competent to provide the greater part of medical care, the general practitioner can deliver services in the ambulatory care setting, the home, hospital, long-term residential care facilities or by electronic means - wherever and however services are needed by the patient. 

The general practitioner applies broad knowledge and skills in: managing undifferentiated health problems across the lifespan in an un-referred patient population; providing continuing care for individuals with chronic conditions; undertaking preventive activities such as screening, immunisation and health education; responding to emergencies; providing in-hospital care; delivering maternal and child health services; and applying a population health approach at the practice and community level. General practitioners work across a dynamic and changing primary and secondary care interface, typically developing extended competencies in one or more discrete fields of medicine, thereby ensuring community access to the range of needed services in a supportive network of colleagues and health care providers. 

As the medical expert with the broadest understanding of a patient’s health in their cultural, social and family context, the general practitioner has a key role in coordinating the care pathway in partnership with the patient, including making decisions on the involvement of other health personnel. He or she practices reflectively, accessing and judiciously applying best evidence to ensure that the patient obtains benefit while minimising risk, intrusion and expense. The general practitioner contributes clinical leadership within a health care team and is skilled in providing clinical supervision, teaching and mentorship. 

Definition of General Practice Position Paper

An ACRRM Definition of General Practice Position Paper - defining the specialty within the context of international literature (plus research and resources that expand on the definition, scope and nature of general practice as defined by the College).