The quality and content of referral letters are important for prioritisation of patients who may have oral cancer. Referrals letters to the Oral Medicine Clinic at Birmingham Dental Hospital were analysed and practitioners interviewed. Whilst acceptable for general purposes, most letters did not contain sufficient information to allow effective prioritisation. Interviews disclosed a misunderstanding amongst practitioners about the way in which referrals were handled. A number of barriers to increasing the information included in letters were identified. Referral guidelines and a standardised proforma might help improve the ability of the service to operate a fast-track system.