A survey was undertaken to establish the extent of provision of phase III exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation in Northern Ireland. Detailed information was obtained on patient referral mechanisms, patient assessment, the exercise component of cardiac rehabilitation and the use of outcome measures. The results suggest that cardiac rehabilitation in Northern Ireland has developed on an ad hoc basis, and although most centres accept myocardial infarction and coronary artery bypass graft patients for cardiac rehabilitation, higher risk patients are generally excluded from these programmes. Currently, little in the way of standard outcome measures are being used to evaluate the effectiveness of existing cardiac rehabilitation services. This paper makes several recommendations to facilitate the development of a more standardised service within Northern Ireland.