Aims: Implementation of NCEPOD guidelines to avoid out-of-hours operating, junior doctors' 'New Deal' and EWTD have significantly altered surgical practice. Patients admitted 'out of hours', who need an emergency procedure, are often deferred until the next day. We have attempted to assess patients' opinions of this management plan. Methods: Consecutive patients admitted with uncomplicated appendicitis and operation deferred to the next day according to NCEPOD guidelines were studied. A surgeon, other than the one carrying out the initial assessment, performed the operation on a scheduled morning emergency list. A full explanation was given to patients regarding reasons for deferring operation, and they found out that a different surgeon would be performing their operation. Patients completed a questionnaire post-operatively. Results: 42 patients were studied; median age 24 years (range 17-69); 32 men, 10 women. Thirty presented after 6pm and eight after midnight. The remaining four were admitted during the day. Only one third of the patients recalled reasons for deferred operation with seven not remembering being given an explanation. Two thirds (n=27) of the patients slept poorly pre-operatively, principally due to pain (17) and ward noise (10). Operation on the same night as their admission was the preferred option in 24 patients. All of these slept poorly. Some 22 patients would have preferred the admitting surgeon to have performed their operation; 16 expressed no preference. Only four patients preferred a 'new' surgeon the following day. Of the 42 patients, 28 did not know who had performed their operation. Conclusion: Despite being told why their operation was delayed most patients would prefer not to have their procedure delayed. Lack of sleep pre-operatively is a major determinant of patient opinion. Few patients wanted a 'new' surgeon to perform their operation.