The World Health Organization’s Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion has been influential in guidingthe development of ‘settings’ based health promotion.Over the past decade, settings such asschools have flourished and there has been a considerable amount of academic literature produced,including theoretical papers, descriptive studies and evaluations. However, despite its central importance, the health-promoting general practice has received little attention. This paper discusses: the significance of this setting for health promotion; how a health promoting general practice can be created; effective health promotion approaches; the nursing contribution; and some challenges that need to be resolved. In order to become a health promoting general practice, the staff must undertake a commitment to fulfil the following conditions: create a healthy working environment; integrate health promotion into practice activities; and establish alliances with other relevant institutions and groups within the community. The health promoting general practice is the gold standard for health promotion. Settings that have developed have had the support of local, national and European networks. Similar assistance and advocacy will be needed in general practice. This paper recommends that a series of rigorously evaluated, high-quality pilot sites need to be established to identify and address potential difficulties, and to ensure that this innovative approach yields tangible health benefits for local communities. It also suggests that government support is critical to the future development of health promoting general practices. This will be needed both directly and in relation to the capacity and resourcing of public health in general.
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