Fifty outpatients with chronic respiratory disease, who had previously been requested to perform regular postural drainage, were asked to complete a questionnaire designed to assess their usual practice of postural drainage, their impression of its value and their problems and compliance with it. The group performed a median of one session of postural drainage lasting 15 minutes daily, increasing to two sessions lasting nearly 40 minutes daily during exacerbations of chest symptoms. Seventeen patients had difficulty finding time for postural drainage, 15 found it distasteful and in 17 postural drainage caused discomfort or pain. Twenty-seven patients were judged to be performing inadequate postural drainage, despite individual initial instruction and regular follow-up in a respiratory outpatient clinic. Other diverse reasons for poor compliance revealed by the survey are discussed and recommendations made to encourage improved compliance.