An audit of day surgery was carried out by the Royal College of Surgeons (Eng.) Comparative Audit service. Data from 121 respondents on over 3 962 day cases were analysed from both retrospective information and from prospective individual patient proformas. The day surgery rate is 31 per cent. The variability of facilities for day-surgery, the timing of lists, type of anaesthetic used and case-mix are discussed. Outcome and the reasons for admission to an overnight bed are analysed. The overall admission rate was found to be 2.8 per cent (range 0.6–19.5 per cent between consultants). Seventy per cent of ENT day-surgery was performed on morning lists which have a lower admission rate than afternoon lists. The main reasons for admission are vomiting 30 per cent, haemorrhage 20 per cent and inadequate recovery from anaesthetic 22 per cent. A more detailed analysis of reasons for admission were given for tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, FESS, and grommets. Recommendations are given which might increase the scope of safe day-surgery and reduce admission rate.