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Clients' views on periodic health examinations (PHEs) were examined in a questionnaire study in Tampere, Finland A sample of 240 clients aged 45 years looked back at their recent experiences of PHE screening and counselling sessions with a public health nurse According to the clients' accounts, the discussions and counselling had dealt with living habits and, to a lesser extent, diseases, symptoms and the prevention of illness The vast majority of the respondents appreciated the friendly and considerate manner in which the nurse dealt with the situation About half of them felt that the discussion was personally important to them Virtually all respondents saw the PHE programme as beneficial for everyone Opinions were more divided on the benefits of the health examination sessions compared with medical help from a physician or with laboratory tests The dimensions of client opinions were extracted by means of factor analysis One of the factors emerging in the analysis demanded access to health examinations from the vantage point of individual rights or entitlement In women, a factor emphasizing self-care was also discerned The interpretation of the factors was based on the social tradition of community-based health services in Finland by means of the concept of social representation