Guidelines for preventive activities in general practice

Screening, case finding and prevention principles

Thinking holistically about your patient

      1. Thinking holistically about your patient

Thinking holistically about your patient

For patients with different levels of risk, please refer to the notes section of the Lifecycle chart. 

In many cases, people experiencing disadvantage have complex needs and health problems. Social, psychological, environmental and physical determinants of health impact on a patient’s health. It is important for GPs to be aware of these factors and impacts in order to tailor their advice appropriately.1 In addition, some groups of people may delay or do not seek healthcare due to stigma, fear of discrimination or previous negative experiences in the health system.2

Population groups in Australia who tend to experience disadvantage, barriers to healthcare access, discrimination and stigma include:

  • people who are socioeconomically disadvantaged
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds
  • people with serious mental illness
  • LGBTIQA+ people
  • people who are overweight and obese
  • people with disability.

It is important that GPs discuss with individual patients their social situation and know local services in their area they can refer patients to for assistance.1

LGBTIQA+ people

GPs have a significant role to play in respecting and acknowledging those who are transgender and/or non-binary through the use of correct names and pronouns and providing gender-affirming healthcare. The terminology in this clinical guideline reflects the clinical research which is focused on cisgender people. The RACGP acknowledges further research is needed in the area of LGBTIQA+ healthcare, and future editions will be continue to be updated to reflect emerging evidence. 

Where there is evidence for specific population groups, it is included within chapters under the Considerations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and Specific populations headings.

  1. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). Smoking, nutrition, alcohol, physical activity (SNAP): A population health guide to behavioural risk factors in general practice. 2nd edn. RACGP, 2015 [Accessed 16 October 2023].
  2. Nyblade L, Stockton MA, Giger K, et al. Stigma in health facilities: Why it matters and how we can change it. BMC Med 2019;17:25. doi: 10.1186/s12916-019-1256-2.
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Related documents

  Lifecycle-chart.pdf (PDF 0.12 MB)