The major purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that patient-centredness in the consultation was associated with improved patient outcomes. Patient-centred care was defined as care in which the doctor responded to the patient in such a way as to allow the patient to express all of his or her reasons for coming, including: symptoms, thoughts, feelings and expectations. The study took place in the offices of six family doctors. All consultations were audiotaped and the patients completed a questionnaire and two structured interviews with the investigator: one immediately following the consultation and the other two weeks later. Patient-centredness was found to be associated with the doctor having ascertained the patient's reasons for coming and with resolution of the patient's concerns. It was also associated with the patient feeling understood and resolution of the patient's symptoms until confounding variables were controlled. The results of the multivariate analysis suggested that the impact of a patient-centred approach may be part of a package of care, consisting of a doctor whose overall practice allows for the development of personal relationships with patients over time through continuity of care.