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Prevention in Flanders, how are the general practitioners doing?


J. Meganck, & J. Vinck

Limburgs Universitair Centrum




In Flemish health prevention policy a strong emphasis is put on the role of the general practitioner (GP). This study intended to identify relationships between the importance GPs in Limburg attach to and the time they invest in prevention, and demographic variables and practice characteristics. 




A questionnaire was created in collaboration with GPs from the local governmental organisation for health promotion (LOGO). With it data was collected on demographic and practice characteristics, and on GPs actions with regard to 5 areas of prevention: eating habits, breast cancer, smoking, personal safety, and vaccination.

All GPs in Limburg were contacted at meetings of their local professional organisations and asked to fill out the questionnaire and return it at the end of the meeting.  




Results indicate that most GPs do find prevention important although this is not always reflected in the time they spend on it. The importance attached to prevention is higher for GPs working in a group practice and for GPs using a computer dossier. In turn, time spent on prevention is higher for females and for younger GPs. The social-economical hierarchy of the location of the practice influences both time and importance. 




The information gathered with this study will be used in collaboration with the LOGO to device strategies on how to enhance the time GPs spend on evidence based prevention.






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