A threatened strike by non-professional hospital employees caused a teaching hospital to halve its in-patient numbers This paper describes this unexpected, involuntary intervention in patient care in the Department of Genatnc Medicine Fifty-three patients were discharged, 46 patients were transferred for 12 days to another hospital and 29 remained in the department There was no evidence of important disruption in patient-care nor exacerbation of patient-distress as seen in ratings of patients’ social, emotional and physical functioning It is suggested that important factors in achieving successful unexpected relocation are selection of patients who are medically stable albeit with significant physical and mental disability, the preparation and participation of patients and staff, and the continuation of patient care by nursing staff familiar to the patients