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Soc Sci Med. 2005 Mar;60(5):1099-106.

"What sort of health promotion are you talking about?": a discourse analysis of the talk of general practitioners.

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Department of General Practice, Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Otago University, P.O. Box 7343, Wellington South, New Zealand.


In New Zealand, health promotion is now expected to be an integral part of the work of a general practitioner, and in the recently implemented New Zealand Primary Health Organisation structure, specific funding is available to undertake health promotion activities in primary care. Eighteen general practitioners recruited to take part in two focus groups discussing men's health, talked extensively about health promotion. This talk was analysed through a discourse analysis. This study of the 'talk' of general practitioners suggests that there are problems in transferring the concept, which must be recognised and addressed if health promotion is going to be taken up effectively within general practice. The meaning given to health promotion in the consultation is unclear and general practitioners were unsure about its value in 'health checks' and screening. Lack of time and lack of confidence in the evidence appeared to be barriers to undertaking health promotion within general practice consultations. In the current climate general practitioners are uncertain, to the point of ambivalence, about health promotion in their work. Further work will be required to ensure this ambivalence does not result in covert resistance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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