Ambition needed on public health

GPs need to be more ambitious in including ill-health prevention and public health in their daily activities, according to a King's Fund report.

A King's Fund report says GPs react to requests for help in stopping smoking rather than proactively engaging existing smokers

The report, which will feed into the King's Fund's GP inquiry, said GPs' preferred method of giving information and advice as a means of addressing public health is not as effective as other interventions.

Public health interventions in general practice mainly focus on secondary prevention, it said. 'In the case of smoking, GPs frequently respond to requests for help giving up smoking rather than proactively engaging existing smokers.'

The King's Fund argues that there is enormous potential for general practice to take a more proactive role in ill-health prevention and public health.

But, it added that providing proactive ill-health prevention should not overwhelm GPs. 'There is a limit to what GPs can be expected to do,' it said.

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