Almost three-quarters of family doctors in a nationwide survey feel they have patients who are under strain from the Government's policy of community care.
This is the finding of Colin Francome, reader in medical sociology at Middlesex University, and coordinator of a research team which surveyed more than 1,000 health service medical staff.
According to the survey, seven out of ten doctors report patients suffering strain, which indicates a need to review the policy, he says.
Dr Francome carried out two identical surveys of almost 300 GPs in 1992 and 1994 as part of the research for a book, Improving the Health of the Nation, to be published next year by Middlesex University Press.
In 1992, 18 per cent of the GPs said community services were coping well, while 53 per cent said they were coping moderately, and 30 per cent said they were not coping well. But by 1994, only 11 per cent felt services were coping well, compared with 52 per cent saying they were coping moderately, and 37 per cent saying they were not coping well.
Fewer than a quarter said community care placed no strain on their patients.