This study focussed on time as a key resource within a hospital setting. The introduction of casemix-based funding, which changed the ways funds were obtained and distributed within the hospital, was accompanied by large cuts in the funds available to the hospital system. From the introduction of casemix-based funding to the conclusion of this study there was an increase of 20% in the number of cases through the operating suite. The increase was achieved, with a reduced budget, by intensifying work and increasing flexibility in the use of time. This approach to changing the use of time imposed considerable real 'costs' on staff, especially nurses, and created concerns about safety.