a1 Senior Lecturer, Needs Assessment Unit, Joint Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, The London Hospital Medical College and St Bartholomew's Medical School, London
a2 Research Fellow
There is some evidence in the literature of increased demand on health services by adults with psychiatric morbidity. Among people over retirement age these associations appear weaker. Results from three independent, but comparable, surveys of elderly people living in London and Essex are presented in relation to their use of health and social services. Psychiatric morbidity was found to be a poor predictor of service use. Level of functional ability and, in some cases, age were both stronger predictors of use of a selection of these services among the two samples from the urban area. Age was a stronger predictor of use of home help and meals on wheels services among the younger urban sample aged 65–85. The model had little explanatory power in relation to use of general practitioner services. The study also indicated that the semi-rural sample had better reported health status and functional ability than the samples in the urban area. Use of health and social services was also lower in the semi-rural areas.