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The results are reported of a study of casualty and surgical services in five general practitioner hospitals in Perthshire — Aberfeldy, Auchterarder, Blairgowrie, Crieff and Pitlochry. Details of the total workload, the nature of the conditions treated and the referral rate to major hospitals are given. Figures for the Royal Infirmary, Perth, the main referral hospital for the county, are also given for comparison. The surgical service at one of the rural hospitals is described.
Experience has demonstrated the usefulness of these hospitals in providing casualty and surgical services to both the local population and to visitors, and their superiority in providing these services over health centres because staff and beds are available 24 hours a day.
Rural general practitioner hospitals merit a continuing share of resources and bed allocation as they spare major hospitals surgical and medical work. The general practitioners serving the hospitals studied here undertook almost 40% of the total accident and emergency workload in the Perth and Kinross area of Scotland.