Objective. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of GPs personally handing out to their patients booklets about minor ailments and self-limiting health problems (minor illnesses). Methods. The study was a pre-test-post-test, control group design and took place in seven general practices. The participants were 162 patients (72 Turkish, 70 Dutch and 20 of other nationality) who frequently visit their GP (>5 times a year), living in deprived areas of The Hague. They were recruited in the waiting rooms of participating general practices. GPs personally handed out booklets to their patients about 12 of the most common minor illnesses and explained how to use them. The main outcome measures were consultations for the 12 minor illnesses listed in the booklet, reported by the patients themselves as well as registered in the general practice medical records, and the number of self-reported illnesses the patients suffered from. Results. The results of both the self-report and the medical records show a significant decrease in number of consultations for minor illnesses in the entire research population, Turkish as well as Dutch. The number of self-reported self-limiting health problems of the Dutch increased. Conclusion. Due to the non-randomization procedure, some caution with regard to generalization must be taken. The results indicate that distribution by the GP of booklets with tailored information when a patient is ill leads to a reduction in consultations for minor illnesses.