There is an increasing trend toward providing palliative care services within general hospitals. The history and work of three hospital palliative care teams is reviewed, one in New York, one in London, and one in Ontario, Canada. The evolution, leadership, structure, functioning, and financing of the teams is discussed. Indicators of success and survival, principally financial support, leadership, and acceptability within hospitals, are considered. It is recommended that the service traditionally limited to oncology patients be extended to other patient groups. It is also recommended that, taking into account cultural and institutional differences, standardized mechanisms be adopted so that services can be systematically audited and changes implemented. Research and education will become increasingly important if services within hospitals are to survive.