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I surveyed 276 patients admitted to the postanaesthetic care unit (PACU). The quality of handover to the PACU nurse was assessed by scoring four indicators: the quality of verbal information about the patient, the condition of the patient on admission, the professional behaviour of the anaesthetist and the nurse's satisfaction with the handover. Maximum scores were attained by 32.6% of anaesthetists for the quality of ‘verbal information’ about the patient given to the PACU nurse, and by 62% of anaesthetists for the ‘condition of the patient’. ‘Professional behaviour’ was judged satisfactory or good in 87% of anaesthetists and almost half of the anaesthetists (48%) scored full marks for the nurse's satisfaction with the handover. The scores of all four indicators were aggregated to give an overall impression of quality of handover; this was good in fewer than half the number of patients brought to the PACU.