Attempts to determine the ideal number of consultant neurologists that will be required in the United Kingdom in the future are hampered by a lack of information on a variety of topics, one of which concerns the workload of the average neurologist at the present time. This paper attempts to correct this deficiency by examining the clinical workload of a single handed neurologist practising in the south west of England. Diagnostic information is given on the 3020 new patients seen during 1984-1986 and is compared with similar data on 836 new patients seen in 1975. The pattern of diagnoses on these patients varies little from year to year, indicating a constancy of referral habit of those who seek neurological advice. However, the referral rates for different conditions do not correspond with what would be expected from epidemiological data, for when the incidence of particular conditions in the neurology clinic is compared with the calculated incidence in the community, very wide variations are noted. The implications of these data are discussed and it is suggested that further studies should be performed before detailed predictions are made on how many neurologists will be needed in this country in the future.
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