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The aim of this study was to evaluate potential access to personal community nursing services and the desirability of these services from the point of view of different population groups Potential access to personal community nursing services was defined as having one or more particular nurses to contact when needing help and advice in health matters The desirability of these services was defined as the respondents'estimation of how useful they considered it to be for them to have access to personal community nursing services A computer-assisted telephone interview for the population living in the catchment areas of 10 health centres in Finland was conducted A random sample of the total population aged 16–79 years was drawn from the population register Logistic regression revealed that gender, type of community and employment status had best explanatory power in having potential access to personal nursing services and in considering these services desirable However, many of those who considered personal nursing services very desirable, indicated that they did not have potential access to such services Most of these persons were elderly and had a chronic disease or disability Developing access to personal community nursing services particularly for these population groups appears to be needed