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In order to determine whether patients are in favour of general health screening, two sex-matched groups of patients of similar age from a general practice were studied; a group of 315 consecutive patients who attended the practice and 93 individuals who had not attended the practice for at least 12 months were studied. Individuals in both groups were provided with a short, anonymous questionnaire about their desire for general health screening. Although roughly equal proportions of the attenders (93%) and non-attenders (88%) indicated that general health screening was a 'good idea', a significantly greater proportion of the attenders (83%) indicated that they would make an appointment and attend the practice for health screening compared to the non-attenders (66%) (P less than 0.002). Similarly, a significantly greater proportion of the attenders (33%) indicated that they would seek general health screening, even if not contacted by their doctor, when compared with the non-attenders (16%) (P less than 0.001). Thus patients in this study were greatly in favour of general health screening. However, patients who attended the general practice infrequently may represent a population who are relatively resistant to health screening.