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A survey was undertaken of the health problems and current medical care of new clients making contact with the Social Service Department of an outer London borough. The findings indicated that social-service clients represent a high-morbidity group of the population: 47 per cent of the survey sample showed evidence of major physical illness or disability, and 16 per cent of major mental illness. A sub-group was identified, corresponding to about 300 new clients annually, who suffered from serious ill-health or disability, but were at the time not under medical care.
These findings support the argument for closer liaison between medical and social services in the community and, in particular, for more social-worker attachments in general practice.