Family practice physicians are trained to prevent, diagnose and treat a wide variety of ailments in patients of all ages. They have received a broad range of training that includes surgery, psychiatry, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, and geriatrics. They place special emphasis on care of families on a continuing basis, utilizing consultations and community resources when appropriate. They are able to apply modern techniques to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the vast majority of common illnesses and injuries.
Family practitioners develop a personal relationship with their patients and function as the patient's means of entry into the healthcare system. The family physician's care is based on knowledge of the patient in the context of the family and the community, emphasizing disease prevention and health promotion. When referral is indicated, the family physician refers the patient to other specialists but remains the coordinator of the patient's healthcare.