Objectives: To determine if more restrictive indications for urinary catheterisation reinforced by daily chart review will lower catheterisation rates. Design: An historical comparative observational study. Setting: An internal medicine department in a regional hospital in Israel. Participants: The authors compared 882 patients hospitalised after a change in policy to an historical cohort of 690 hospitalised patients. Exclusions included patients less than age 30 and those with bladder outlet obstruction. Intervention: Emergency and internal medicine department physicians received instruction on a more restricted urinary catheterisation policy. During daily chart rounds, admissions were discussed with an emphasis on the appropriateness of all new urinary catheter insertions. Main outcome measures: The primary outcome measure was catheterisation rate by admission diagnosis. Secondary outcome measures were the need for post-admission in hospital catheterisations and the rate of indwelling catheters 14 or more days after discharge. Results: There was a reduction in catheterisation rate in patients with congestive heart failure from 30/106 (29.3%) to 3/107 (2.8%) (p<0.001), in patients with an admission diagnosis of fever unable to provide a urine sample for culture from 35/132 (26.5%) to 12/153 (7.8%) (p<0.001) and in patients admitted for palliative care from 51.7% (15/29) to 12.0% (3/25) (p=0.002). The overall rate of catheterisation decreased from 17.5% (121/690) to 6.6% (58/882) (p<0.001). There was only one indicated catheterisation after admission due to the change in policy, and the proportion of patients discharged with catheters decreased. Conclusion: The use of more restrictive indications for urinary catheterisation along with daily chart rounds can reduce the rate of urinary catheterisation in an internal medicine department without adverse consequences.