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Logo of jroyalcgpracBJGP at RCGPBJGP at PubMed CentralJ R Coll Gen Pract at PubMed CentralRCGP homepage
J R Coll Gen Pract. 1977 May; 27(178): 295–301.
PMCID: PMC2158027

Social workers and their clients: a comparison between primary health care and local authority settings


A social work attachment scheme to several general practitioners was established. Data from the first 300 referrals to the scheme were compared with data from a previous study of referrals to the `intake' teams of the social services department of the same London borough. In addition, data about the activities of the social workers in the `attachment' were collected, and the work was found to be predominantly short-term.

The populations referred to social workers in both settings were found to be similar in age and sex. Although general practitioners in the area referred only a few clients to social services departments, the clients in both groups were generally in poor health.

The psychiatric morbidity of those referred to the attached social workers was significantly higher, however, than those referred to the intake team (p < 0·01), and their problems were also more likely to need psychological help rather than practical measures. These differences were considered to be due mostly to the different types of referral agencies operating in the two settings and to their perceptions of the social worker's role.

The findings support the argument for closer liaison between medical and social services in the community: the attachment of social workers to general practices proved to be particularly valuable in the management and treatment of patients with emotional and mental illness.

Full text

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Brook P, Cooper B. Community mental health care: primary team and specialist services. J R Coll Gen Pract. 1975 Feb;25(151):93–110. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Cooper B. Social work in general practice: the Derby scheme. Lancet. 1971 Mar 13;1(7698):539–542. [PubMed]
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  • Eastwood MR, Trevelyan MH. Relationship between physical and psychiatric disorder. Psychol Med. 1972 Nov;2(4):363–372. [PubMed]
  • Harwin BG, Cooper B, Eastwood MR, Goldberg DP. Prospects for social work in general practice. Lancet. 1970 Sep 12;2(7672):559–561. [PubMed]
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  • Rickards C, Gildersleeve C, Fitzgerald R, Cooper B. The health of clients of a social service department. J R Coll Gen Pract. 1976 Apr;26(165):237–243. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Heller RF. Detection and treatment of hypertension in an inner London community. Br J Prev Soc Med. 1976 Dec;30(4):268–272. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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