A study published in 1981 examined the causes of hospital admission for a cohort of children with sickle cell disease (SCD). Since that time, the incidence and prevalence of SCD has increased markedly in the UK, and there have been many changes in the management of this disease. We undertook a study examining the causes of hospital admission of children with SCD to the same hospital as the previous study, over the 2-year period from 2008 to 2009. We found that the numbers of children being cared for by our hospital had dramatically increased over the last 50 years, but rates of hospital admission had significantly fallen (41 hospital admissions per 100 patient-years, compared with 111.3 admissions per 100 patient-years in the original study). This fall in admission rates is accounted for by 2 major components: acute painful episodes (15.7 admissions per 100 patient-years compared with 39.3 in the previous study) and admission for elective blood transfusion (0.2 admissions per 100 patient-years compared with 26.7 in the previous study). It is interesting to note that, 541 elective transfusions were carried out during the study period, but in a day-care setting rather than requiring overnight admission. This study illustrates the changes in management of SCD over the past 30 years, and reflects the overall trend common to most hospital specialties of increasing community and ambulatory care.