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In recent years, day surgery rates have risen in many countries in the world. In 1998-99, 65% of elective surgery was performed as day procedures in the UK and about 70% in the USA. The future has the potential for an increase in day surgery as less well-performing countries and hospitals catch up with the best, and new surgical, anaesthetic and analgesic techniques are introduced. Consolidation and development of best management practices are necessary for sustained day surgery development.