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This paper evaluates the British government's Patients Charter from the perspective of patients admitted via accident and emergency departments. It uses qualitative data obtained about issues of concern to these patients to judge whether the standards set out in the Charter are appropriate to their priorities and, conversely, if there are issues of importance to these patients which the Charter overlooks. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 83 patients admitted to two London hospitals. It is concluded that the rights and standards outlined in the Patients Charter are generally appropriate to these patients' experiences, although some are defined too narrowly. The study identified a number of issues of importance to patients which are not mentioned in the Patients Charter: pain relief, giving information, receiving information, reception staff, examinations and investigations, physical environment, and other people in casualty. The patient wants rather more than recent British government documents suggest.