A retrospective review of the activity of a general practitioner employed specifically to provide a primary health care service to the residents of an ‘old long-stay’ psychiatric ward was undertaken.
All but one patient had a chronic physical health problem requiring active management. Presenting pathology covered all organ systems. The review indicated that these health problems had not previously been satisfactorily managed by psychiatrists. This service was acceptable to and valued by patients.
The success of the service was only achieved by dedicating specific resources to meet primary health care needs. The extent to which this model could be extended to ‘new long-stay’ populations located in dispersed hospital hostels is less certain.
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