An augmented Delphi study was employed to elicit the perceptions of CPNs, GPs, social workers, managers of psychiatric nursing services and health service purchasers in England, on the role required of a psychiatric (mental health) nurse in primary health care. In the final stage of the study, users of mental health service were enlisted in a verification study of the emergent findings. A broad consensus emerged that a gap existed in mental health services in primary care. This was perceived as placing a large burden on GPs, which might be reduced by the appropriate development of community psychiatric-mental health nursing. The study suggested the possibilities for development of a 'mental health nurse consultant' role, which might augment the current CPN role, within which the nurse might offer not only direct patient care, but also support to members of the primary care team.