Health promotion in general practice

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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