A picture of patients' satisfaction with interpersonal aspects of hospital-based care (including out-patient and accident and emergency services) was obtained from a postal survey of the general population of Lothian Region in south-east Scotland. Results were broadly in agreement with other national surveys and emphasized the high importance patients attach to being encouraged to ask questions about their treatment, and having their choices explained, including the right to a second opinion. Dissatisfaction decreased markedly with age, and also showed a weaker but significant association with measures of psychosocial health and pain. Social class was associated with feeling patronized or ignored by doctors. The opposite directions of the associations of satisfaction with older age and poorer health respectively, and the necessary correlation between age and health, imply that the effects of health status and age on satisfaction should be estimated from a multivariate model.