New referrals to a diabetic clinic were studied over 6 months. One hundred and twelve patients were referred from their General Practitioner (GP) and 49 from other hospital departments. Thirty percent of GP referrals and 10% of hospital referrals were made on the basis of glycosuria alone. From all the patients referred six were found to be non-diabetic and a further 19 had been prescribed drugs inappropriately (either the wrong drug or the right drug in excessive dose), some with potentially dangerous consequences. Almost half of the patients were given no dietary advice at all. There is, still much ignorance concerning diagnosis and initial management of diabetes in both general and hospital medical practice.