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Four characteristics of patients which might affect the length of time spent in consultations in general practice were studied: the sex, diagnosis, age, and social class of the patient. The sex of the patient was not shown to be significantly associated with any difference. The diagnosis of `psychoneurotic' conditions was significantly associated with long consultations (p < 0·001) and this is discussed.
The number of consultations lasting less than the median time for the whole series was significantly more common in the 15 to 29 age group.
There have been few reports published on this topic, which seems important, and I hope further work will examine this aspect of the work patterns of established and trainee general practitioners.