The use of day case surgery is on the rise. In order to improve efficiency and reduce cost, it has been proposed that tonsillectomy could be undertaken as a day-case procedure in Ireland. A retrospective, chart-based study was carried out. The medical and social criteria of all patients who underwent tonsillectomy during a twelve-month period were evaluated. Individual, local and national factors were identified and international comparisons were made. Of 161 patients included, 43 (27%) were considered suitable for day case tonsillectomy (DCT). The distance/time criteria from hospital excluded 64% of patients. The diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnoea was the single most common medical reason for exclusion. Support structures were deficient. Local factors must be considered before any policy or targets are developed for DCT. Patient safety is the fundamental tenet. Currently, the infrastructure and the support required for a patient-focused, safe efficient DCT are deficient, and need investment.