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It was the Apothecaries Act of 1815 which led to the emergence of general practice as we know it today and it was this one Act which produced a flood of changes on the medical scene that are without parallel in our history. Students were soon to undergo new forms of training in new medical schools and hospitals, and many medical associations and journals were founded. The term `general practitioner' was soon in use. The driving force behind all these changes was the Society of Apothecaries and the new general practitioners, and all too often they were opposed by the two Royal Colleges. It was only at the beginning of the twentieth century that these new practitioners were allowed to call themselves `doctors'.