Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Developing primary health care.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 294 doi: (Published 18 April 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;294:1005
  1. B Jarman,
  2. J Cumberlege
  1. St Mary's Hospital Medical School, Lisson Grove Health Centre, London.


    Primary health care is best provided by a primary health care team of general practitioners, community nurses, and other staff working together from good premises and looking after the population registered with the practice. It encourages personal and continuing care of patients and good communication among the members of the team. Efforts should be made to foster this model of primary care where possible and also to evaluate its effectiveness. Community services that are not provided by primary care teams should be organised on a defined geographical basis, and the boundaries of these services should coincide as much as possible. Such arrangements would facilitate effective community care and health promotion and can be organised to work well with primary care teams. The patient's right to freedom of choice of a doctor, however, should be retained, as it adds flexibility to the rigidity of fixed geographically based services.