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A case analysis has been performed on 4000 successive outpatient referrals to one consultant neurologist, representing 72% of all referrals to Charing Cross Hospital and 82% to Hillingdon Hospital. A specific diagnosis was not possible in 1013 patients (25.3%). Amongst the remainder certain diagnoses were predictably common: for example, migraine (241), tension headaches (296) and epilepsy (470). Based on data obtained for the incidence of various neurological disorders in the community, an attempt has been made to assess what proportion of patients with certain diagnoses are likely to be seen by a neurologist. The rarity with which certain classical conditions, for example syringomyelia, is encountered is stressed and the implications for teaching discussed.