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The assessment of patient satisfaction has become an important concern in the evaluation of health services. Measures of satisfaction must be valid and reliable if they are to be used widely. This paper reports the development of a new questionnaire to assess patients' satisfaction with consultations together with initial tests of the questionnaire's reliability and validity. Principal components analysis of the patients' assessments of care revealed three factors of satisfaction: the professional aspects of the consultation, the depth of the patient's relationship with the doctor, and the perceived length of the consultation. The consultation satisfaction questionnaire is reliable under the conditions of this study and may have a role in research, medical education and audit.