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The principles of patient-centred care are increasingly stressed as part of health care policy and practice. Explanations for why some practitioners seem more successful in achieving patient-centred care vary, but a possible role for individual differences in personality has been postulated. One of these, emotional intelligence (EI), is increasingly referred to in health care literature. This paper reviews the literature on EI in health care and poses a series of questions about the links between EI and patient-centred outcomes.Papers concerning empirical examinations of EI in a variety of settings were identified to determine the evidence base for its increasing popularity. The review suggests that a substantial amount of further research is required before the value of EI as a useful concept can be substantiated.