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The standard of medical care provided by deputizing services is important for patients receiving care and for doctors using the service. The monitoring of these standards is discussed here in terms of what should be measured, how this should be done, and who should carry out this monitoring. The features to be taken into account include professional values, accessibility, clinical competence, and ability to communicate. Various bodies, such as the deputizing services, family health services authorities, and individual doctors and patients will usefully be involved in assessing standards. The future might hold radical solutions to the management of out-of-hours calls. These solutions could involve patients, general practitioners and the deputizing services. The result must be that patients receive the best possible care.