The general practitioner not only has the opportunity but also the duty to improve his patients' knowledge about health. Health education takes place when people change their views on health and disease, or when an attempt is made to get them to do so. A practical (problem-solving) model of the consultation, which is more descriptive of what actually happens (and should happen) than the traditional model, is outlined. Only one of the steps under the heading 'Management' concerns treatment, the other seven being aspects of health education. Doctors often do not realize that what the patient remembers is influenced by the way things were said. Several such factors are mentioned, for example the amount of information given, the order in which it is given, repetition of information, the use of technical language, the doctor's attitude, and the giving of written instructions and hand-outs. The small amount of time spent concentrating on such technical factors may improve not only the patient's compliance with his treatment but also his satisfaction with the service rendered by his doctor.