January 23, 1978

The Family Practice Concept Debated

JAMA. 1978;239(4):293. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280310025003

To the Editor.—  Recently the news media and medical press (238:217, 232-235, 1977) have been promoting family practice. As a pediatrician who entered private practice 30 years ago in a community that had been treated almost entirely by general practitioners, I wish to express some caution in regard to this trend.In the past 30 years medical care has greatly improved in the smaller communities as well as in the larger medical centers. I can look back on the medical facilities of our community 30 years ago and, with a feeling of satisfaction and pride, observe the tremendous progress made in the area hospitals, mental health programs, public health nursing, school health, and the various agencies promoting better health and medicine for our community. These changes were stimulated by the specialists who settled in our community, not by family practitioners.Medicine has become so complex that it is impossible for