Guidelines for preventive activities in general practice

About the Red Book

    1. About the Red Book

About the Red book

Role of the general practice team in prevention

Each year, almost nine in 10 Australians visit a general practitioner (GP).1 With general practice at the forefront of Australian healthcare, GPs are in a pivotal position to provide the highest standard of preventive healthcare, in partnership with their patients. Preventive healthcare is important at all stages of the lifecycle. Benefits include:

  • maintaining and/or improving patients’ short- and long-term health
  • addressing health disparities faced by disadvantaged and vulnerable population groups
  • prevention of chronic disease
  • early detection of specific disease through evidence-based screening
  • empowering patients through health education and promotion.

Purpose and scope

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has published the Guidelines for preventive activities in general practice (Red Book) since 1989. It is designed to provide the general practice team with guidance on preventive care by providing a comprehensive and concise set of recommendations applicable to the substantial portions of the general practice population rather than specific subgroups. This means that, in general, recommendations apply to asymptomatic (low-risk) people. However, there is an emphasis on equity, with recommendations aimed at major disadvantaged groups at higher risk of disease and those who are less likely to receive preventive care. Additional information is provided to tailor advice depending on a patient’s individual risk and need, with a focus on the safe, efficient and effective use of healthcare resources in general practice.
Widely accepted as the main guide to the provision of preventive care in Australian general practice, the Red Book is one of the most accessed resources produced by the RACGP. It provides a much-needed and valued synthesis of the many aspects of preventive care relevant to our patient population.
The Red Book has two companion publications: the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (2nd edition), which is intended for all health professionals delivering primary healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and Putting prevention into practice: Guidelines for the implementation of prevention in the general practice setting (3rd edition), also known as the Green Book, which provides advice on how to implement preventive care in practice.
The Red Book supports evidence-based screening, case finding and preventive activities in primary care, covering primary (preventing the initial occurrence of a disorder) and secondary (preventive early detection and intervention) activities.
The Red Book does not attempt to be a guide to broad public health messaging. In addition, the Red Book does not include:

This event attracts CPD points and can be self recorded

Did you know you can now log your CPD with a click of a button?

Create Quick log

Related documents

  Lifecycle-chart.pdf (PDF 0.12 MB)