The Primary Medical Care Group at the University of Southampton contributes to the medical curriculum in the first, third and final years. A visiting lecturer from Sweden took the opportunity to interview a sample of 20 final-year students using a qualitative approach. Questioning centered on the impact of the primary care course both in relationship to medicine as a whole and to general practice. It was found that primary medical care was often not seen as a central or integral part of the curriculum but many students acknowledged its important contribution to seeing the patient as a whole and in integrating the various other parts of the curriculum, with significant opportunity for role modelling and informing career choice. A hidden curriculum emerged of attitudes which provided a conflict for some students. Improvements should include clearer dovetailing of primary medical care with other curricular components, limitation of aims with more specific and rigorous assessment and a wide strategy of staff development not confined to those directly involved in general practice attachments.