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A random sample of 449 Asian patients and 447 non-Asian patients were interviewed at home in their preferred language using a personally administered questionnaire comparing attitudes to and perceived use of health care services in Leicester. The overall response rate was 89.6%. There were differences in the responses of the Asian and non-Asian populations. With respect to communication, language as a barrier appears to be a diminishing problem among Asian patients in Leicester. However, Asian patients reported finding it more difficult to gain access to their general practitioners than non-Asian patients. More Asian than non-Asian patients would have preferred direct access to consultants and most respondents from both populations felt they should be able to request a hospital opinion from their general practitioner. More Asian patients disliked management of illness by telephone than non-Asian patients, the latter feeling that telephone advice could save them a trip to the surgery, or their general practitioner a home visit. However, both groups regarded home visiting as essential. Asian patients disliked deputizing services more than non-Asian patients, and there was some support for 24 hour surgeries, particularly among the Asian population, with doctors working in shifts. As Asian patients appear to differ from non-Asian patients with respect to attitudes and perceived need for health care services, this type of survey may form the basis for the more rational planning of health care delivery to ethnic minority patients in the future.