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Dangers lurking in push for skill-mix

The fear of damaging the doctor-patient relationship is the single most important factor that affects whether GPs give smoking cessation advice, a new study suggests.

But the research found that providing GPs with a stock of patient information booklets could increase the rate that GPs give advice by 50 per cent.

Study leader Professor Robert West, director of tobacco studies at University College London and co-

author of the Government's smoking cessation guidelines, said the booklet appeared to 'mitigate the negative effect of an attitudinal barrier'.

He said: 'If they have got something they can hand the patient it's like saying, "this is not me, this is something we do".'

The results, based on 107 GPs who were randomised to receive the booklet, appeared online last week in the journal Patient Education and Counselling.

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