We developed a 12-item questionnaire for completion by patients having total hip replacement (THR). A prospective study of 220 patients was undertaken before operation and at follow-up six months later. Each completed the new questionnaire as well as the SF36, and some the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales (AIMS). An orthopaedic surgeon assessed the Charnley hip score. The single score derived from the questionnaire had a high internal consistency. Reproducibility was examined by test-retest reliability and was found to be satisfactory. The validity of the questionnaire was established by obtaining significant correlation in the expected direction with the Charnley scores and relevant scales of the SF36 and the AIMS. Sensitivity to change was assessed by analysing the differences between the preoperative scores and those at the follow-up. The standardised effect size for the new questionnaire compared favourably with that for the SF36 and the AIMS. The new questionnaire provides a measure of outcome for THR which is short, practical, reliable, valid and sensitive to clinically important changes.