Working towards new National Care Standards for Scotland

New National Care Standards for health and care settings in Scotland are under development. The underpinning principles launched earlier this year chime well with the standards the GMC expects of the medical profession.

We work with medical students and doctors across Scotland to promote our standards and will work with the NCS Development Group where there is a link to Good medical practice or our explanatory guidance on confidentiality, consent, 0-18 years, and end of life care. Henry Mathias tells us more from the NCS Review Team tells us more. 

The National Care Standards in Scotland, created under the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001, describe what people using a range of care services in Scotland can expect. The policy and delivery landscape has changed significantly since the 23 standards were published in 2002 and Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) and the Care Inspectorate are working together to review, update and improve the standards in line with current expectations of quality care.

We have become more aware of what individuals expect from services and these principles reflect a greater focus on human rights and wellbeing.

Since the standards were created in 2002, the way that services are provided has changed and will continue to do so. We have also become more aware of what individuals expect from services and these principles reflect a greater focus on human rights and wellbeing.

How services are inspected is also changing. Rather than just checking that a service is complying with basic inputs for all people, inspections are increasingly looking at what it’s like to actually use the service.

Inspections are increasingly looking at what it’s like to actually use the service.

Work is underway to develop the general standards for the new National Care Standards (NCS), which will be issued for public consultation in autumn this year. This important work has significant involvement from people who use, provide and commission health, care and support services and is also being supported by the Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Following the agreement of the five overarching principles in April, the NCS Development Group has been working with stakeholders to develop general standards for a wide range of health and social care settings. The Development Group has held a number of workshops and focus groups with a range of stakeholders.

The approach to developing the new standards is a genuine melting pot of the private, voluntary and statutory sectors, with a broad range of different perspectives and care settings.

As the strategic lead of the NCS Review Team, which includes colleagues from the Care Inspectorate and Health Improvement Scotland, I am very much enjoying working closely with our Development Group to shape the standards, and considering the broad range of views that our stakeholder representatives bring to this process.

It has been an exciting progress so far and we are now getting down to the task of developing the standards. The approach to developing the new standards is a genuine melting pot of the private, voluntary and statutory sectors, with a broad range of different perspectives and care settings.
This makes for lively debate as well as ensuring that all the necessary bases are covered.

Common ground

What has been particularly satisfying is finding out that there is a lot of common ground across different sectors of care services, settings and age ranges in developing the standards.

The new National Care Standards will be centred on the rights and wellbeing of people experiencing care.

The new National Care Standards will have a wider relevance than the previous 23 standards, which were specific to different registered care settings (including childminders and nurseries, care homes, housing support, services for people in criminal justice supported accommodation and independent hospitals). Instead they will be applicable across all health and social care provision, including services that are not registered.

The new National Care Standards will also be centred on the rights and wellbeing of people experiencing care. The general standards being drafted are common to all individuals experiencing care, and will be complemented by some specialist standards for particular needs and care settings, for example in early years and restricted care services.

What happens next

Over the summer months, we will continue to engage with our stakeholders as part of our standards development process. The draft general and specialist standards will be published in the autumn and this will be followed by a formal 12-week consultation period. The standards will be used by all services regulated by the Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland and further discussions will continue to take place on the applicability of the standards with regard to other services.

Timetable fort he roll-out of the National Care Standards

The final standards will be rolled out and implemented from April 2017 and used in inspections thereafter. The Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland will use them to inform their current reviews of inspection methodology.

To support our work we have developed a number of communication materials, including a handy pocket guide [PDF]. We have also launched two short films, the first features the views of people who use services and the second provides an update on our work.

We’ll be updating our site with details of our progress and opportunities for you to get involved.

Henry Mathias is Strategic Lead with the National Care Standards Review Team in Scotland

Related posts

Dr Christine Gregson writes about protecting patient confidentiality within the Scottish Government

Dr Clive Weston from Swansea University Medical School blogs about the GMC’s medical education standards launched in 2016

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