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Last updated: 30 March, 2020 15:59pm

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Non-Infectious, Recurrent, Chronic or Sore Throat

Referral Criteria / Commissioning position

Referral to secondary care:

  • 2WW:
    • Sinister red flag features for over 3 weeks with no signs of infection – to rule out malignancy – Two Week Rule
  • Acute:
    • Rare but if associated with airway compromise
  • Recurrent/Chronic:
    • See ‘Infectious sore throat and tonsillitis’ document for criteria for recurrent tonsillitis
    • Persistent and not responding to above treatment and conservative measures

For patients with the following:

  • smoking/alcohol history
  • referred otalgia
  • stridor
  • dysphagia
  • weight loss
  • oral ulcer/swelling
  • unable to comprehensively examine oral cavity oropharynx


  • clinical suspicion of malignancy

Investigations prior to referral


Information to include in referral letter

The GP referral letter should contain:

  • Timing, effect on quality of life
  • Any nasal features
  • Previous and current treatment
  • Details of how the patient meets the above criteria
  • Past medical/surgical history
  • Current regular medication
  • BMI
  • Smoking status
  • Alcohol consumption

Patient information

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