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The proportion of patients with schizophrenia who lose contact with the secondary services is between 25% and 40%. The general practitioner remains the health care professional most likely to be in contact with such patients. A consensus group of 14 members met on four occasions, reviewed the relevant literature, and developed good-practice guidelines in five areas: establishing a register and organizing regular reviews; comprehensive assessments; information and advice for patients and carers; indications for involving specialist services; and crisis management. The guidelines are presented and their supporting evidence summarized.