To shed light on the practice of outpatient anaesthesia in Finland 126 hospitals performing outpatient surgery were asked about the drugs used and about postoperative care. 64% of the hospitals replied. Intravenous were more popular than inhalation agents. Diazepam (57%), propanidid (52%) and thiopentone (52%) were the most commonly used drugs. Nitrous oxide, mostly in combination with other anaesthetics, diazepam with pethidine, and halothane were used in 48%, 41% and 36% of the hospitals respectively. Divinylether and diethylether were employed in 35% and 15% respectively. Propanidid, thiopentone and diazepam were the first choice in 29%, 21%, and 11% respectively, while divinylether was still the first choice agent in 11%. Most central hospitals used nitrous oxide (82%), thiopentone (65%), halothane (60%), propanidid (50%) and methohexitone (25%). Small hospitals, where anaesthesia was not administered by specialists, most frequently used ethers (divinylether 51%, diethylether 29%), diazepam with pethidine (54%), propanidid (49%) and diazepam alone (34%). After propanidid, thiopentone and methohexitone patients were generally kept in hospital for 3 hours and advised against driving for between 17 to 20 hours. It is concluded that the choice of drugs seems appropriate. However, supplementation with nitrous oxide could reduce the high doses of intravenous anaesthetics used and result in reduced side-effects and more rapid recoveries. The wide use of involved anaesthetic techniques in rural areas stresses the importance of teaching anaesthesiology to general practitioners.