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Putting prevention into practice (Green Book)

Addressing the needs of the disadvantaged

There are a number of ways in which your practice can specifically address the needs of the socioeconomically disadvantaged in your community:

  • Identify and collect data on socioeconomic status: this should be done in a sensitive manner to avoid stigmatising the patient. One approach is the computerised linkage of patients who require welfare services. Clinical audits may incorporate data on socioeconomic status for comparison between care and outcomes in different groups. This information can then be fed back into clinical care provision
  • Offer flexibility of services: payments may be a barrier and time may have a different meaning to some people who may respond better to drop-in appointments on designated days
  • Understand your practice’s population groups: utilise knowledge of your patients to understand health from their perspective. For example, many Aboriginal communities have different concepts of confidentiality, and including a support person may be very important to their ability to keep appointments
  • ‘Sensitise’ your recall and reminder systems: take into account risks for specific groups (eg. decreased age of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for certain conditions)
  • Advocate for your patients: ensure help for different groups in accessing health services. When appropriate, communicate the barriers to their care to others involved.



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

People with disabilities

  • The California Department of Developmental Disabilities at
  • The Centre for Developmental Disability Studies at
  • Management guidelines: People with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Lennox N, Diggens J, editors. Melbourne: Therapeutic Guidelines, 1999. ISBN 0-9586198-0-8
  • Australian Family Physician 2004; vol 33 No.8 August – ‘Developmental disability’

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