In this paper, a multi-objective decision aiding model is introduced for allocation of beds in a hospital. The model is based on queuing theory and goal programming (GP). Queuing theory is used to obtain some essential characteristics of access to various departments (or specialities) within the hospital. Results from the queuing models are used to construct a multi-objective decision aiding model within a GP framework, taking account of targets and objectives related to customer service and profits from the hospital manager and all department heads. The paper describes an application of the model, dealing with a public hospital in China that had serious problems with loss of potential patients in some departments and a waste of hospital beds in others. The performance of the model and implications for hospital management are presented. © 2009 Operational Research Society Ltd. All rights reserved.