A survey of the waiting times and patients' opinions of these times was undertaken in a busy district general hospital A&E department. The various components of the overall waiting time are analysed and specific points of the patients' attendance, where waiting times were prolonged, are identified. Standards are derived which is hoped may result in 75% of patients being satisfied with the duration of their wait. The current levels of achievement are compared with these standards. Suggested and actual improvements to the department to improve our performance are described.