OBJECTIVES: Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is chronic, affects 8-20% of the population, impairs quality of life (QoL) and generates substantial health-related costs. Patient education is intended to improve patients' disease-related competency, potentially enabling them to deal more efficiently with their disease, eventually improving QoL and reducing healthcare cost. This study aimed to investigate the effects of a group-based education programme for patients with mild GORD. METHODS: Patients with GORD were randomly allocated to education (n=102) or control (n=109). The education programme was designed as a structured dialogue conveying medical information about the pathophysiology and prognosis, pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatment of GORD, patients' rights and use of healthcare. Outcomes were measured using general QoL [General Health Questionnaire-30 (GHQ-30)], disease-specific QoL [Digestive Symptoms and Impact Questionnaire (DSIQ)], global QoL and healthcare use at 2 and 12 months after the educational programme. RESULTS: No statistically significant differences were found in GHQ-30, DSIQ or global QoL at 2 or 12 months' follow-up between the GORD-education group and controls. In the GORD-education group, patients who had completed primary school education only showed improved QoL at 12 months on both GHQ and DSIQ, whereas patients who had completed advanced schooling showed no change. No difference was found between the groups in their use of healthcare. CONCLUSION: A group-based education programme for patients with mild GORD showed no effect on QoL or use of healthcare. Subgroup analyses showed improved QoL only in patients with primary school education, who had been allocated to GORD education.