The Gold Standards Framework (GSF) seeks to facilitate consistent and high quality community palliative care through a set of guidelines, mechanisms and assessment tools. The present study set out to examine practitioners' perspectives on the GSF during its first national roll-out. Two general practices that had adopted the GSF were recruited in each of four geographical areas, and each matched as closely as possible with a non-GSF practice. Sixty-eight semi-structured telephone interviews were carried out with general practitioners and district nurses in 16 selected practices, along with the GSF facilitator and up to four other 'stakeholders' in each area. Analysis revealed that the majority of GSF participants felt that the framework had strengthened their provision of community palliative care. In particular, communication within primary health care teams and co-ordination of services improved, aspects which were better in the GSF practices than in the matched non-GSF practices. Practitioners felt there was more consistency of care, with a reduced likelihood that individual patients would 'slip through the net'. The most common areas of concern were in relation to the workload associated with the role of the GSF co-ordinator. Implications for the development and effective implementation of the framework and for further research are discussed.