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GPs don't see primary prevention as part of their job

GPs have not taken on board key public health aspects of national service frameworks and do not see it as their job to undertake primary prevention, according to early results from a new study.

The findings support a

drive from the King's Fund to repackage the NSFs to place greater emphasis on prevention.

A study of how local GPs viewed prevention guidance in the coronary heart disease NSF showed GPs did not recommend preventive interventions because they were unsure of the evidence base.

'The GPs I spoke to didn't see prevention as part of their job,' said study author Ann Hemingway, practice development fellow in public health

at the University of Bourne-mouth.

'There was the view that you are taking time away from what the patient has come in to see you about – which is a real dilemma,' she told a recent national meeting on public health.

Her comments were back-ed by King's Fund health policy director Anna Coote, who said the King's Fund was working to get primary prevention higher up the public health agenda.

'The NSFs all have wonderful phrases about prevention but no one takes any notice,' she said.

Dr Mayur Lakhani, a GP in Loughborough and chair-elect of the RCGP, said the comments from the GPs in the study did not surprise him but that there were very complex issues involved. 'In my experience most GPs are aware of the importance of lifestyle

advice but the difficulty is knowing what interventions to put in place,' he said.

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