Outpatient and home parenteral antibiotic therapy (OHPAT) is under-utilized in the U.K. We performed a feasibility study over a 5-month period in a regional U.K. infection unit. After exclusions, 183 antibiotic treated patients were evaluated. Ninety-five received intravenous (IV) therapy, of whom 32 received at least 4 days. Prolonged IV therapy was most frequent in soft tissue infections. In these patients, length of stay and duration of IV treatment were correlated (r = 0.74, 0.51-0.87), Eighty-three (86%) of patients who received IV therapy judged OHPAT to be an acceptable alternative to hospitalization. Those who did not were older (mean age 64 vs. 46 years, P<0.001) and were less likely to have a carer willing to administer the antibiotic at home (8/28 vs. 117/151, P<0.001). Twenty-five of 32 (79%) patients treated with prolonged parenteral therapy and 27/95 (28%) treated with any length of parenteral therapy met criteria for OHPAT. Thirteen of these were safely and successfully managed as outpatients by ward staff, OHPAT is an acceptable alternative to inpatient therapy in Tayside and may reduce the duration of hospitalization or prevent admission in certain patients. (C) 1999 The British Infection Society.