We studied prospectively a consecutive series of 765 patients with proximal femoral fractures to determine if the time interval between injury and surgery influenced the outcome. Patients in whom surgery had been delayed for medical reasons were excluded. We divided the patients into four groups depending on the delay to surgery. Analysis of pre- and postoperative characteristics showed the groups to be similar. Mortality in the four groups was not significantly different but morbidity was increased by delay, particularly with regard to the incidence of pressure sores.