UEMO Statement on Prevention and Health Promotion

08/02/2011 1438 Views

Prevention and health promotion are important aspects of public health at national and European level with growing significance in the last years.

The increasing recognition of the potential of preventive activities however raises questions about the evidence and effectiveness of preventive services in decreasing morbidity and mortality and improving the quality of life. It’s scientifically proven that many traditional tests and procedures cannot be justified or are performed too often. This asks for the continuing reassessment of the evidence and the impact of various preventive or screening programs. Interest groups and the ‘media’, e.g. the food- & pharmaceutical industry, stimulate consumerism (disease mongering), also in the field of preventive activities. This results in a variety of not evidence-based or needed interventions, leading to unnecessary spending and potential harm to people’s health.

Improving socio-economic status and access to healthcare services for all the population is an important prerequisite in public health.
On the other hand it is very important:
– to focus on evidence based and cost-efficient preventive activities.

– to protect the population from disease mongering and from preventive activities which lead to unnecessary spending and potential harm to people`s health
Preventive Activities consist of counselling, promoting healthy lifestyles, identifying possible health risks, offering interventions and evaluating outcomes.

To be successful these tasks require broad physicians knowledge,preventive and communication skills,awareness of possible harms,a good doctor patient relationship, organizational structure and accessibility.

All these above mentioned activities and components describe General Practice/Family Medicine and are ingredients of the daily work of every General Practitioner/Family Physician.

Since family physicians/general practitioners are the only specialists, who meet patients before they develop disease, General Practice/Family Medicine is the ideal place for primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary prevention. World Health Organisation is well aware of this fact. It is evident, that without inclusion of this cost-efficient already existing network all planned activities are doomed to failure.

Therefore UEMO urges European and national health authorities

– to include GPs/FPs in all activities and decisions concerning Health Promotion or Prevention  from the start and planning till the implementation and evaluation.

– to support and value GPs/FPs in their daily effort for Prevention and Health Promotion by improving working conditions of GPs and by supporting medical education of high quality  for GPs as specialists in General Practice/Family Medicine

 

Literature:

EUROPREV: Policy Statement on Prevention and Health Promotion in Primary Care
UEMO: Consensus Document on Preventive Activities,
The WHO Report 2008 -primary healthcare(Now more then ever)
UEMO: Quaternary Prevention /Disease Mongering(uemo.org/documents)
STARFIELD ans SHI, Health Policy 2002 :better performance: more quality of life
MAJUMAR SR et al., Qual Saf H Care 2007:survival in Diabetes better
UEMO: Statement on Screening Tests in General Medical Practice Lisbon 21 April 2007
B Starfield1, J Hyde2,3, J Gérvas4,5, I Heath6 Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2008; 62: 580-583; doi:10.1136/jech.2007.071027 The concept of prevention: a good idea gone astray?

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