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One in five women in the United Kingdom will have a hysterectomy by the time they reach the age of 65 This paper explores the experiences of women as they seek advice in outpatient clinics, as they go into hospital for surgery, and as they return home to convalesce Differences in doctor-patient communication between private sector and National Health Service patients are discussed The results of this study point to the inadequacy of current practice in providing information to patients about this potentially serious operation