National Care Standards Review

The National Care Standards help everyone understand what they have a right to expect when they access health and social care services. They also help services understand and meet the quality and standards of care which they should provide.

In 2014, the Scottish Government launched a consultation seeking views on the approach and scope of the National Care Standards. The consultation set out a range of human rights-based proposals for developing new standards that improve the quality of care and protect vulnerable people. It also proposed a shared set of standards for health and care so that people working in health and care services have a "common understanding of what quality means and work to common core values".

The Scottish Government received 475 responses to the consultation, which can be accessed here. An independent analysis of the responses was published in April 2015. Following publication of the analysis, the Scottish Government confirmed that the new National Care Standards should be developed, tested and introduced within 12 to 18 months.

You can find further information on the review on the National Care Standards Review website.

A Consultation on the New National Health and Social Care Standards

A consultation was launched on the new national New National Health and Social Care Standards on 28 October 2016 and closed on 22 January 2017. The consultation received 499 responses, from 249 organisations and 191 individuals. An analysis of the responses has been published.

From Spring 2018, the new Standards will provide a framework for registration and inspection of individually registered care and health services, but they will also be relevant to all care and health services including those not inspected by the Care Inspectorate or Healthcare Improvement Scotland. Services which are not currently required to register with or be inspected by these regulators will be encouraged to adopt and apply the Standards as a framework for high quality care.

The Scottish Government has published an analysis of responses to the consultation, and a summarised version of that analysis' research findings.

A consultation on draft human rights and wellbeing principles

A consultation was launched on the draft human rights and wellbeing principles that underpin the development of the new National Care Standards for health and social care services in Scotland. The Consultation closed on 10 December.

As part of the consultation, the Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland encouraged everyone with an interest and involvement in health or social care, personal and professional, to take part in the consultation which will help the standards evolve to meet the needs, rights and choices of people across Scotland.

The first stage of the review of the current National Care Standards is to consult people who have an interest on seven overarching draft principles.

The principles will apply across all health and social care services, including hospitals, independent healthcare, NHS surgeries, social work provision, criminal justice, social care and early learning and childcare.

The consultation responses will inform the development of generic and specialist standards which will apply to services across health and social care. A consultation report was published in February 2016.

All views from the consultation were considered and the overarching principles were signed off in February 2016.  The next phase of the National Care Standards Review Development Group's work is to develop a set of general and specialist standards linked to the principles. 

You can find further information on the consultation on the National Care Standards Review website.


New Health and Social Care Standards

The Scottish Government published the new Health and Social Care Standards in June 2017. 

These Health and Social Care Standards set out what we should expect when using health, social care or social work services in Scotland. They seek to provide better outcomes for everyone; to ensure that individuals are treated with respect and dignity, and that the basic human rights we are all entitled to are upheld.

The Standards are underpinned by five principles; dignity and respect, compassion, be included, responsive care and support and wellbeing.

The Standards are based on five headline outcomes:

• I experience high quality care and support that is right for me.

• I am fully involved in all decisions about my care and support.

• I have confidence in the people who support and care for me.

• I have confidence in the organisation providing my care and support.

• I experience a high quality environment if the organisation provides the premises.

The Chief Executive of the Care Inspectorate, Karen Reid, explains that it is the Care Inspectorate's intention to start using the standards to inspect care homes for older people from April 2018 and to undertake significant work before then in partnership with care home providers and residents. They will begin to roll these out in inspections of other types of care thereafter.

There will be no ‘big bang’ for service providers. However, providers do need to start examining the new standards now and think about what they mean for them. The Care Inspectorate will work with providers and commissioners during a phased implementation to make sure that we continue to build on the overall good quality of care and support the committed and skilled social care workforce.

The new standards will form the basis of future inspections but they are not just designed for scrutiny. They are explicitly designed to support strategic inspection and the way services are planned, commissioned and delivered, and to be used in supporting improvement too.



The first in a series of new, regular bulletins that will provide up-to-date information and opportunities to be involved in the review has been published by the National Care Standards Review Development Group. 

The first issue introduces the review of the NCS and includes a timetable for the delivery of the new standards.

The second bulletin provides an update on progress, including the key themes from the over 1,700 responses to the consultation, and the next steps.

The third bulletin confirms the overarching principles, details the timetable for the roll-out of the National Care Standards, and highlights that the Development Group has launched two short films and a new leaflet to explain more about what the principles will mean for people. 

The fourth bulletin discusses the general standards which are currently being drafted by the Development Group. 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 fifth bulletin highlights the progress of the National Care Standards, including confirmation that a series of short films to help explain what the standards will mean for people. A social media campaign to encourage as many people as possible to participate in the forthcoming consultation will also be launched during the consultation period from 28 October to 22 January 2017. 

The sixth bulletin discusses the closed consultation and states that the consultation summary report will be published in April 2017. Comments received will influence what, if any, changes are required and what the final Standards look like before being approved by Ministers in late spring/early summer 2017.

The seventh bulletin announces the publication of the new Health and Social Care Standards. The Standards will now be rolled out across health and social care, and will inform inspection from April 2018, but the approaches for this will be developed in partnership with people who provide and experience care. There will be no “big bang” approach.

NCS Review Video

The Scottish Government launched an accompanying video to help clearly explain the National Care Standards review.



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