A hospital self-admission service for asthmatic patients was started in December 1968. During a 15-year period, 195 asthmatic patients were responsible for 873 hospital self-admissions. During the last 3 years there were significantly more night admissions and shorter durations of asthma attacks prior to admission than during the first 3 years. Assisted ventilation was necessary on 36 occasions (4%), but one patient was responsible for 28 of these episodes. There were three hospital deaths. One patient died from a tension pneumothorax as mechanical ventilation was being started, and two patients were not actively resuscitated because of irreversible airways obstruction and ischaemic heart disease. There were six deaths outside hospital, one from myocardial infarction, four from asthma; one young female died on a holiday trip. The hospital death rate for patients admitted via this service is 0.34% (0.1% if the two patients who were electively not resuscitated are excluded). This low mortality rate suggests that this self-admission service saves lives. There are no costs and this service gives confidence to patients and general practitioners.