The high morbidity and mortality rates for colo-rectal cancer in Teesside, UK, have led to the initiation of an open access service in two local National Health Service Trust hospitals. This paper reports the results of a pilot patient satisfaction study of the service using a combination of participant-observation, in-depth interviews and questionnaire methods. Although offering a standardised service, ethnographic study revealed interesting differences in practice and follow-up procedures between the two hospitals. Patients, both verbally and on paper, expressed high levels of satisfaction with the services offered at both hospitals, yet in-depth, qualitative research revealed a more complex picture. The evidence from this research will be used to argue that standard consumer satisfaction questionnaires of health provision are inadequate indicators of patients' experience of health care delivery.