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Br J Gen Pract. 1995 Dec;45(401):669-71.

Who should give lifestyle advice in general practice and what factors influence attendance at health promotion clinics? Survey of patients' views.



Health promotion activity in general practice has increased greatly since 1990. A large proportion of this work is undertaken by practice nurses. Little is known about patients' views about the providers of health promotion or their views about general practice health promotion clinics.


A study was carried out in 1992 to determine patients' views about the provision of health promotion advice by general practitioners and practice nurses and their views about attending health promotion clinics.


A postal questionnaire was sent to a random sample of 1750 patients aged 16 years and over from five general practices in south Tyneside. The questionnaire explored patients' preferences regarding health promotion advice from the general practitioner or practice nurse in relation to four areas of lifestyle advice and factors that might encourage patients to attend a health promotion clinic.


A response rate of 75% was obtained from 1639 eligible patients. Receiving health promotion advice from either the general practitioner or the practice nurse was the most commonly preferred option expressed by patients overall. The ability of health promotion clinic staff to deal with patients' concerns about their illness and short waiting times were more likely to influence patients' attendance at health promotion clinics than the presence of a general practitioner or practice nurse.


In the present study, many patients found health advice received from practice nurses and general practitioners equally acceptable. However, it was the ability of health professionals to respond to patients' health concerns in the health promotion clinic rather than the type of health professional running the clinic that was important for patients.

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