To test the value of an outpatient visit in patients with dyspepsia, 79 patients considered suitable for open access endoscopy by their general practitioners were instead seen in the medical outpatient clinic first. In 35 patients immediate endoscopy was seen as an inappropriate investigation and 23 of these were spared endoscopy. In 11 patients important extra diagnoses were made in the clinic which would have been delayed or missed had the patients been sent straight for open access endoscopy. Sixty-eight per cent of patients, when asked by questionnaire, said they preferred to be seen in the clinic first rather than come for open access endoscopy. These results lend support to the traditional medical clinic appointment followed by endoscopy if and when appropriate rather than the open access endoscopy system.