The aim of this study was to find out whether there is a consensus of opinion among healthcare providers and different sections of the public on the relative prioritization of common otolaryngological conditions for outpatient consultations and inpatient treatment. ENT consultants, general practitioners, administrators, NHS employees, non-ENT patients and members of the general public were given common scenarios of otolaryngological conditions and asked to prioritize them in order of importance. All the groups gave top priority for patients with suspected cancer of the larynx (outpatients) and for surgical treatment of cancer. Children with hearing problems were more commonly ranked in the top three categories than children requiring treatment for sore throats. All groups assigned those requiring rhinoplasty, treatment for snoring or hearing aids to the last three ranks. This study shows that there is a remarkable uniformity of opinion in determining clinical priorities which is similar to the traditional policies practised by UK ENT consultants.
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