Intermediate care is a key feature of the Government's plans for the development of the health service. The intermediate care scheme described here offers a district nurse-led bed (DNLB) stay in a community hospital to patients in the community who require short-term nursing help. District nurses are given the opportunity to admit patients from their community caseloads into a DNLB in a community hospital and are responsible for their admission, care and discharge. This article describes the pilot study that monitored the first 30 patients who used the DNLBs. Patients included younger people with multiple sclerosis who were admitted for respite care, but the principal beneficiaries were those aged over 65 years with chronic conditions.