The methodology for eliciting the public's priorities for health services is in its infancy. This paper presents the results from a series of exploratory exercises on priorities in City and Hackney. The authors surveyed the opinions of members of community groups and tenants' associations, and compared their responses with those of a random sample of the public as well as general practitioners, consultants and public health doctors. This revealed some disagreement on priorities between these groups. The public, in consistency with the results from other studies, prioritised perceived life saving technologies as high, in contrast to community services and services for people with mental illnesses, which they prioritised as medium to low, in contrast to all the samples of doctors; the public also prioritised health education and family planning as fairly low, as did the GPs and consultants, in contrast to the public health doctors who prioritised them as high. Before DHAs embark on these studies as part of priority setting, they must answer the question: "what will they do if they disagree with the results?"