In countries with universal health care systems patients frequently wait days for their "emergency" surgery. A general trend in orthopaedic traumatology is the advent of daily, dedicated orthopaedic trauma theatres. Availability of trauma theatres is believed to decrease morbidity and mortality, but this remains unproven. A retrospective review comparing morbidity and mortality outcomes between two similar level-one trauma centres (one without a dedicated trauma room system) was undertaken. We reviewed 701 elderly patients receiving hemiarthroplasties for displaced subcapital hip fractures over a 76-month period. Patients were similar between centres in terms of age, gender ratio and comorbidities. Statistically significant differences were found favouring the dedicated trauma room system with approximately half the operative delay and post-operative morbidity. A trend towards decreased mortality was also seen. This study supports the use of regular orthopaedic trauma theatres in tertiary care institutions.