Intended for healthcare professionals


General practice and public health: fostering collaboration for better health for populations

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: (Published 25 November 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:n2916
  1. Maggie Rae, president of the Faculty of Public Health,
  2. Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners

Primary care and public health offer a unique opportunity to support one another, and the important synergies between the two specialties are clear, argue Maggie Rae and Martin Marshall

As the president of the Faculty of Public Health and chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) we know the importance of fostering deep collaboration between primary care and public health. Our members, representing the UK’s public health and general practice workforce, face many cross-cutting issues. Both specialties understand that factors rooted in inequality such as homelessness, addiction, poor quality housing, obesity, and smoking all impact profoundly on the health of communities and the individuals that live within them.

General practitioners, given their closeness to the communities they serve, understand the importance of individual and local determinants of health. This role is reflected in the fact that core competencies within the RCGP’s training curriculum include “community orientation” and “practising holistically.” When consulting with patients, GPs, working with practice staff such as nurses and social prescribers, seek to not only treat illness, but to identify the root causes of ill-health. This insight is invaluable to public health specialists …

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