Introduction: The relative incidence of paediatric Bell’s palsy is two to four times less than the condition in adults. The number encountered in our otolaryngology department falls short of the above prediction. This could either reflect the general practitioners' (GPs) patterns of referral or a lower incidence in our locality.
Methods: Postal questionnaires were sent to our local GPs to determine their referral practice when managing children presenting with acute facial paralysis.
Results: Of 233 questionnaires, 172 (74 per cent) were returned and analysed. Fifty-four per cent of GPs referred their patients to the local paediatric services, 22 per cent to an otolaryngologist, and the remaining 24 per cent of GPs were confident in diagnosing and managing Bell's palsy in children themselves.
Discussion and Conclusion: Of the GPs surveyed 78 per cent did not refer children presenting with acute facial paralysis to an otolaryngologist. We suggest minimum investigations for acute facial paralysis in children before diagnosing Bell's palsy and stipulate otolaryngology referral for all.