Research Article

Prevention in practice: what Wessex general practitioners are doing.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 288 doi: (Published 17 March 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;288:832
  1. J C Catford,
  2. D Nutbeam


    A random sample of 214 general practitioners in the Wessex region was invited to complete a postal questionnaire about the practice of preventive medicine and 90% replied. This inquired into their attitude and behaviour towards smoking and accident prevention, promoting exercise, and controlling obesity and hypertension. The results were generally encouraging. Most recognised their key role in health promotion and health education and their shared responsibility with other professionals. Many had made progress in smoking prevention and control of obesity and hypertension. Promoting exercise and accident prevention left room for improvement. The availability of information in patients' records to identify and monitor problem areas was particularly lacking. We conclude that further progress might be achieved by better training of general practitioners, and developing information systems orientated towards promoting health. The team approach in primary care needs to be strengthened. In particular extending the role of the health visitor and practice nurse may provide the support so vital for the successful outcome of preventive initiatives. Community unit management teams need to consider carefully how they may encourage advances in health promotion in primary care.