BACKGROUND The views of general practitioners on their increasing role in caring for people with learning disability in the community are not known. AIM A study was carried out to assess the views of general practitioners with regard to providing routine care, organizing health promotion and specific health checks for people with learning disability and the role of specialists. METHOD A postal questionnaire was sent to all 242 general practitioners in Gwent, south Wales. Participants had to mark their level of agreement with 20 attitude statements regarding learning disability. RESULTS A total of 126 general practitioners (52%) responded. Respondents generally agreed that general practitioners were responsible for the medical care of people with learning disability. Respondents tended to be opposed to providing regular structured health promotion for people with learning disability, such as annual health checks and assessing hearing and eyesight. Specialist services were generally valued by respondents. CONCLUSION General practitioners largely accepted their role as primary health care providers for people with learning disability. In contrast, their role as providers of health promotion for this patient group was not generally accepted. Further research into the appropriateness and opportunity costs of health screening for people with learning disability is needed.