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The data presented suggest that general practitioners would be likely to refer a large number of patients with diverse problems to clinical psychologists working in health centres. Compared with a centrally organized clinical psychology service, the work of the primary care psychologist is likely to offer the following advantages:
1. Access to psychological help for patients with a need for such help, but who could not attend a central clinic owing to problems associated with travel, work, physical disability, or even a presenting problem such as agoraphobia.
2. Greater continuity of care of patients.
3. Increased communication between the psychologist and members of the primary care teams.
4. Possibility of the psychologist seeing the patient earlier, before the problems have become entrenched.
5. Less need for referral to other agencies.
6. Reduced stigma for the patient.
7. Development of new therapeutic approaches relevant to problems presenting in primary care.
8. More flexible and more relevant therapy due to seeing the patients in their home setting.
9. Greater therapeutic involvement of the patient's family.
10. Reduced costs and inconvenience for the patient's family.
11. Reduced administrative and ambulance service costs.
While these points do not overcome the need for a formal evaluation of the work of psychologists in primary care, they do suggest that there are advantages in this type of service over the services which are currently available and that a full evaluation would be worth undertaking.