Postoperative pain relief is often inadequate. Ignorance and misconceptions about opioids by ward staff contribute to this poor management. The introduction of acute pain teams has done much to improve pain relief for patients. It may also have contributed to changes in attitudes and knowledge of medical and nursing staff. We questioned 48 doctors and nurses on their knowledge and beliefs about postoperative pain relief Staff members were questioned on two units, one with access to an acute pain team and one without. Over half those on the unit using traditional postoperative care thought patients did not receive adequate pain relief (58%). In comparison, only one respondent from the unit with the pain team thought this was the case (P <0.001). More staff members that had experience of patient controlled analgesia (PCA) were optimistic about its benefits than those in the unit with no experience; they were also less concerned about possible side effects. Only one respondent on the unit using PCA thought it carried a risk of drug dependence, compared to over half (55%) of those on the unit with no experience in this technique (P <0.001). Over two-thirds of staff familiar with PCA thought nursing workload had decreased. Acute pain teams have an important role in educating ward staff. The impact of establishing such teams on staff knowledge and attitudes needs further study to ensure that they, can carry out this role most effectively.