'I've just taken you to see the man with the CD on his head': The experience and management of recurrent sore throat in children

Catherine Lock*, Rachel Baker, Katie Brittain

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Tonsillectomies for children with recurrent sore throat are common. There is a perception amongst medical professionals that parents are eager for surgical intervention but the parent/child perspective is overlooked in the literature. This study aimed to identify parent/child experience of recurrent sore throat. The study was qualitative, using grounded theory approach to data collection/analysis. Semi-structured, in-depth, interviews were conducted with 12 dyads of children (aged 4-16) and their parents, attending two Ear, Nose and Throat outpatient clinics held at a hospital in North East England, referred by their General Practitioner for recurrent sore throats. Analysis revealed recurrent sore throats significantly affected the families' quality of life. Families felt the need for antibiotics and tonsillectomies although parent and child were not always in agreement over their choice of treatment. Families felt empowered when the health care system showed some flexibility, such as allowing self re-referral, giving families greater choice in the way they managed the condition. Policy makers need to be aware of the consequences of recurrent sore throats in children and the needs of families in managing this chronic condition. More flexible approaches to health care, such as self re-referral and use of waiting list to review symptoms, may be needed if the number of tonsillectomies is to be reduced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-110
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Child Health Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes

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