General practitioners in the United Kingdom will see about one patient with Bell's palsy every two years. Increasing evidence shows that the way the patient is managed has an important effect on outcome. Untreated Bell's palsy leaves some patients with major facial dysfunction and a reduced quality of life. Of patients with Bell's palsy registered by general practitioners between 1992 and 1996 a fifth were referred for specialist opinion, just over a third received oral steroids, and 0.6% received aciclovir.1 Improving outcomes requires coordination between specialists and general practitioners so that patients are treated during the critical first 72 hours. We outline recent developments in Bell's palsy and current best evidence in its management.