This paper describes the development of a community orientated mental health service including the introduction of a community-based admission unit. The catchment area is a compact conurbation with a population of 56,000 in a deprived part of North Tyneside. Most people come from social classes IV and V and less than 1 % are from ethnic minorities. The male unemployment rate varies from 16–24% and the area is ranked 58th (out of 192) on the Jarman deprivation indices. The primary health care services suffer from many of the problems of inner-city general practices, with the Family Practitioners Committee being the highest prescriber in the country.
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