A prospective audit of early post-operative morbidity in patients who would not normally receive routine outpatient review was undertaken. One-hundred-and forty-seven (92 per cent) of 162 patients invited returned for assessment. Thirty-five patients (24 per cent) had complications. These were of a minor nature with infected wounds being most numerous. Much of this morbidity appeared avoidable if the patients had received appropriate advice whilst in hospital. Also noted was the surprising frequency with which patients required to consult their general practitioner (GP) for guidance regarding an otherwise uncomplicated convalescence. Written advice sheets for the patients were drawn up and the study repeated. One-hundred-and-fifty (93 per cent) of 162 patients attended including 11 (7.3 per cent) who did not receive an advice sheet. Twenty-five (16.7 per cent) had complications. Although the overall complication rate was not significantly different there were significantly fewer wound infections in the second group (6 (4 per cent) versus 15 (10 per cent); p < 0.05). The number of GP visits was also reduced (24 (16.3 per cent) versus 13 (8.7 per cent); p < 0.05). Written post-operative advice sheets should be given to all patients following minor surgery.