Aim: To investigate the quality of surgical colorectal cancer (CRC) care in the southern Netherlands by evaluating differences between the five hospitals with the lowest volume and the five hospitals with the highest volume. Methods: Patients who underwent resection for primary CRC diagnosed between 2008 and 2011 in southern Netherlands were included (n = 5655). The five hospitals performing <130 resections/year were classified 'low volume'; the five hospitals performing >= 130 resections/year 'high volume'. Differences in surgical approach, circumferential resection margins (CRM), anastomotic leakage and 30-day mortality between hospital volumes were analysed using Chi(2) tests. Expected proportions anastomotic lea Results: 23% of patients with locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC) diagnosed in a low volume centre was referred to a high volume centre. Patients with colon cancer underwent less laparoscopic surgery and less urgent surgery in low compared to high volume hospitals (10% versus 32%, p < 0.0001, and 8% versus 11%, p = 0.003, respectively). For rectal cancer, rates of abdominoperineal resections versus low anterior resections, and CRM were not associated with hospital volume. Anastomotic leakage, Conclusion: In southern Netherlands, low volume hospitals deliver similar high quality surgical CRC care as high volume hospitals in terms of CRM, anastomotic leakage and survival, also after adjustment for casemix. However, this excludes LARC since a substantial proportion was referred to high volume hospitals. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.