Medical audit was carried out to evaluate drug therapy in a cohort of depressed patients admitted to a functional ward for the elderly. A retrospective case note study was carried out in 61 consecutive admissions with a diagnosis of depression. Seventeen of the 41 patients (41%) with a diagnosis of Manic Depressive Psychosis were not taking antidepressant medication on admission. Of the 11 patients who received Electroconvulsive Therapy seven (64%) did so under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act. Four of the 41 patients (10%) with a diagnosis of Manic Depressive Psychosis were not on prophylactic antidepressants or lithium on discharge. Seventeen of the patients (28%) were taking benzodiazepine hypnotics on admission, and 14 of these were discharged on the same type and dosage. There were no patients on more than one type of antidepressant or antipsychotic at any one time. These findings reflect deficiencies in the general practice and specialist treatment of depressive illness in an elderly cohort. The need for on-going audit in this at risk group is emphasized.