Unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) is appropriate for one in four patients with osteoarthritic knees. This study was performed to compare the safety, effectiveness and economic viability of a new accelerated protocol with current standard care in a state healthcare system. A single blind RCT design was used. Eligible patients were screened for NSAID tolerance, social circumstances and geographical location before allocation to an accelerated recovery group (A) or standard care group (S). Primary outcome was the Oxford Knee Assessment at 6 months post operation, compared using independent Mann-Whitney U-tests. A simple difference in costs incurred was calculated. The study power was sufficient to avoid type 2 errors. Forty-one patients were included. The average stay for Group A was 1.5 days. Group S averaged 4.3 days. No significant difference in outcomes was found between groups. The new protocol achieved cost savings of 27% and significantly reduced hospital bed occupancy. In addition, patient satisfaction was assessed as greater with the accelerated discharge than with the routine discharge time. The strict inclusion criteria meant that 75% of eligible patients were excluded. However, a large percentage of these were due to the distances patients lived from the hospital.