BACKGROUND: Neutropenic fever in patients receiving chemotherapy is a medical emergency and should be treated promptly within 1 h with antibiotics as specified within the 2009 NCAG report on chemotherapy services. AIM: To determine door-to-assessment, door-to-treatment and door-to-investigation intervals for patients with febrile neutropenia who presented to the inpatient Oncology Ward, the outpatient Oncology Day Unit and the Emergency Department in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge. DESIGN: Retrospective observational audit. METHODS: Thirty-two patients on treatment for solid cancers who were admitted with febrile neutropenia between January and December 2010 were identified, and paper and electronic medical records were analysed to determine door to: assessment, treatment and investigation intervals. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Patients in this series were assessed quicker and received the first dose of antibiotics faster when they presented to an oncology ward rather than the emergency department. However, imaging was performed faster and blood results issued quicker if performed in the emergency department due to a better infrastructure that has been tailored to comply with national targets. Nonetheless, compliance with optimum standards of care was poor, with only 9% of sampled patients getting antibiotics within 1 h of presenting to hospital, and 53% within 1 h of being assessed by a clinician.