The health burden in most countries has changed. Although acute care is needed for trauma, acute illness and exacerbations of chronic disease, most of the burden is now long term. These patients need different approaches, with more emphasis upon supporting self-management, enhancing lifestyle changes, aiding compliance by shared decision-making and providing more convenient follow-up that appreciates the likelihood of multimorbidity. Integrated care will increasingly be offered from within the community. The current hospital- and doctor-centric focus needs to change to one where specialists work in the community as much as in hospitals and share this different type of care with others. For potential future doctors, the scientific basis of medicine will still underpin their unique role in diagnosis and prescribing, but they will need to understand these other changes and to be selected according to attributes compatible with their future role, and then be trained and assessed accordingly.