A prospective study was carried out over a three year period to assess the morbidity pattern of the homeless in Manchester. A principal diagnosis was recorded for each patient consultation during the delivery of primary health care to this population. The diagnoses were grouped and analysed in comparison with expected levels in the general population, both with and without adjustment for social class. Although the total numbers of annual consultations were similar to those expected, the morbidity pattern was very different. High consultation rates in some groups (psychiatric and dermatological conditions) were balanced by low consultation rates in other groups (cardiovascular and musculoskeletal conditions). Thus the provision of primary health care to the homeless is shown to be no greater than to the general population, after adjustment for social class.
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