Recent government initiatives in the UK have focused on streamlining oncology services by reducing waiting times between urgent referral, assessment and treatment of patients with possible cancer. The performance of the Quick Early Diagnosis Dysphonia Clinic of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, between May 1997 and April 2001 was reviewed. Of 721 patients reviewed, 123 (17 per cent) had clinically suspicious laryngeal lesions. Thirteen cases of epithelial hyperplastic laryngeal lesions and 27 laryngeal malignancies were diagnosed. There was no statistical link between early cancer detection and assessment within two weeks of referral. However, rapid-access clinics for dysphonia serve an important role in the reassurance and multidisciplinary management of patients with persistent hoarseness. Greater financial commitments are necessary to achieve compliance with objectives for a maximum two-week wait for patients with suspected laryngeal malignancy.