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A pilot survey in Tower Hamlets, London, indicated that many general practitioners (GPs) might not be recognizing abuse of elderly patients through lack of training. The survey was replicated on a large scale in Birmingham, to allow further analysis. 561 Birmingham GPs were mailed questionnaires and responses from 291 were analysed, providing data from 95% of the practices. The findings were similar to those in Tower Hamlets: just under half had diagnosed elder abuse in the previous year. Regression analysis of the combined data-sets (n = 363) indicated that the strongest factor predicting GP diagnosis of abuse was knowledge of 5 or more risk situations (odds ratio 6.77, 95% confidence interval 4.19, 10.93). The findings of these surveys suggest that research-based education and training would help GPs to become better at identifying and managing elder abuse.