Three 1-year surveys of head injury management spanning a 9-year period in a single regional centre are presented, There was a reduction in total numbers of head injury admissions after guidelines for admission and referral were implemented. More liberal use of computed tomography resulted in detection of a greater number of intracranial haematomas with the majority detected in non-comatose patients. The early mortality rate in severe head injury fell from 45 per cent to 34 per cent despite referral of large numbers of patients with multiple injuries and a substantial proportion (12per cent) of patients aged more than 70 years in whom outcome did not improve. Total occupied bednights and bednights occupied per surviving patient with severe head injury fell over the period of study. Care for patients with significant head injury should be based on regional neurosurgical units associated with trauma services.