General practitioners are ideally placed to undertake health promotion and prevention, mainly due to opportunity.
There are several reasons for this health promotion role:
• Population access: over 80% of the population visit a GP at least once a year. 2
• On average, people visit a GP about five times each year.
• GPs have a knowledge of the patient's personal and family health history.
• The GP can act as leader or co-ordinator of preventive health services in his or her local area.
• The GP can participate in community education programs.
• GPs should undertake opportunistic health promotion—the ordinary consultation can be used not just to treat the presenting problem, but also to manage ongoing problems, co-ordinate care with other health professionals, check whether health services are being used appropriately and undertake preventive health activities. 2
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