Perceptions of receiving behaviour change interventions from GPs during routine consultations: A qualitative study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


General Practitioners (GPs) are expected to provide patients with health behaviour change interventions, yet little is known about the views of patients themselves. We aimed to understand recent patients’: (1) general expectations about GPs delivering health behaviour change interventions during routine consultations (including perceptions of appropriateness and helpfulness for receiving interventions), (2) perceptions of responsibility for GPs to talk about health behaviours, and (3) experiences of receiving behaviour change interventions. Twenty-four semi-structured interviews were conducted with people who had recently attended a routine GP consultation. Data were analysed thematically. Three major themes were identified: (1) acceptability of discussions about behaviour change, (2) establishing clinician-patient rapport, and (3) healthcare professionals as a credible source and well placed to offer behaviour change interventions. Most patients were positive about, and were willing to accept behaviour change interventions from their GP during a routine consultation. Although behaviour change was perceived as a sensitive topic for patients, the doctor-patient relationship was perceived to provide an effective platform to discuss behaviour change, with the GP perceived as an appropriate and important healthcare professional from whom to receive advice. Contrary to the views of GPs, behaviour change interventions were perceived by patients as appropriate and helpful during routine medical consultations, particularly where behaviour change could have a positive effect on long-term condition management. Behaviour change interventions delivered by GPs during routine consultations could be used effectively in time-restricted consultations.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalP L o S One
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 May 2020