Guidelines for the implementation of prevention in the general practice setting

The Green Book
2. Whole-of-practice prevention
☰ Table of contents

Key points


  • Prevention requires consideration of practice populations (without taking away from individual care)
    • – high-quality data is important in obtaining useful information.
  • Every member of the practice team plays a role in preventive care.
  • Your preventive care team will also include people outside your practice (eg PHN QI support officers, allied healthcare providers, disease and consumer peak bodies).

While few would disagree that prevention is an important part of high-quality, comprehensive healthcare, much of the healthcare system (including general practice) is focused on reactive care.

Although we can intuitively see how prevention can reduce the need for reactive treatment, it can be difficult to change focus when the demand for treatment is so much ‘louder’, more urgent and resource hungry compared to preventive care.



When you’re up to your neck in alligators it is hard to think about draining the swamp.

– Assoc Prof John Litt, Green Book Editorial Committee

In this section of the Green Book, we will look at how we can broaden our focus to incorporate prevention without detracting from the quality of reactive care. The key elements of this shift are:

  • having a comprehensive understanding of your practice population (so that you can target preventive activities and resources to their needs)
  • involving all members of the practice team in preventive care (sharing the workload and responsibility)
  • collaborating with external groups and support services.

Effective prevention requires partnership and collaboration on multiple levels – that is, between:

  • the patient and GP
  • the patient and practice team
  • the GP and practice team
  • the GP and allied healthcare professionals
  • the practice team and PHNs and/or the broader community and health system.


If you want to improve the quality of prevention in your practice, your whole practice needs to be involved.
Think about the roles of the individual members of the practice team and what contribution they can make towards preventive care.

– Prof Mark Harris, Green Book Editorial Committee

The Green Book

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