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A scheme for attachment of psychiatric nurses from hospital to group practice in Oxford is described. One community psychiatric nurse can work satisfactorily with eight general practitioners covering a population of about 18,000. From analysis of a working year, it is concluded that this arrangement improves the care of patients in the community by providing psychiatric help at times when it was previously unavailable or unacceptable.
The implications of such a scheme for the workings of the primary health care team and the hospital psychiatric service are considered, and a case is made for a further study involving a comparison between practices with and without the attachment of a community psychiatric nurse.