National Care Standards review
What are the National Care Standards?
The National Care Standards are a set of
standards for care services in Scotland.
The current National Care Standards were
created by the Scottish Government under the Regulation of Care
(Scotland) Act 2001.
The standards were devised after considerable
consultation with service providers, service users, various expert
bodies and the public. There are currently 23 standards and these
are subject to review and revision, as necessary.
The National Care Standards are used by
service providers to maintain and improve the quality of services
provided. The Care Inspectorate is also required by law to apply
them when regulating care services. The standards are based on care
settings including childminders and nurseries, care homes, housing
support, services for people in criminal justice supported
accommodation and independent hospitals.
The standards, which are written from the
point of view of people who use services, are one of the measures
by which the Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland
assess the safety, effectiveness and quality of care.
Why do we need new National Care Standards to be
Since their introduction, the National Care
Standards have not been reviewed, and so, in line with current
expectations of compassionate, high quality, safe and effective
care, Scottish Ministers committed to a review of the
What has been the approach to a review of the standards?
A consultation was published in June 2014; it
closed in September 2014. The document set out a range of human
rights-based proposals for developing new standards that improve
the quality of care and protect vulnerable people. It sought views
on whether a shared set of standards for health and care should be
developed so that people working in health and care services have a
common understanding of what quality means and work to common core
The consultation received 475 responses from a
wide range of service providers, professional and representative
groups, service users and regulatory bodies. On the whole,
proposals were very well supported with 92% of respondents agreeing
that new standards should take a human rights-based approach. 89%
of those who provided a view supported the development of
overarching quality standards which apply across health and social
What has happened since the consultation?
Since the consultation, a National Care
Standards Review Project Board has been established, to provide
strategic direction to the review, with representatives drawn from
organisations which support the delivery and improvement of health
and care services in Scotland. The Project Board will be the
decision making body and make recommendations to the Scottish
Ministers regarding the new standards.
In January 2015, the Project Board discussed
the process for developing new standards and recommended that the
Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland lead the
overall process for the development phase of the new standards, in
conjunction with otherstakeholders, and drawing on the views
gathered through consultation.
Subsequently a Development Group, cochaired by
the Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland, was
established with relevant key stakeholders.
During 2015/2016, this group will identify
networks for further engagement, consultation and testing.
What will happen next?
The Care Inspectorate and Healthcare
Improvement Scotland will work closely together to review and
develop new standards; this will involve ongoing consultation with
a range of stakeholders.
When will the new National Care Standards be introduced?
It is anticipated that the new National Care
Standards will be introduced in 2017, with a further 12 months or
so to full implementation.
National Care Standards principles
The following principles will underpin the National Care
Dignity and respect
- My human rights are respected and promoted.
- I am respected and treated with dignity as an individual.
- I am treated fairly and do not experience discrimination.
- My privacy is respected.
- I experience warm, compassionate and nurturing care and
- My care is provided by people who understand and are sensitive
to my needs
and my wishes.
- I receive the right information, at the right time and in a way
that I can understand.
- I am supported to make informed choices, so that I can control
my care and support.
- I am included in wider decisions about the way the service is
provided, and my
suggestions, feedback and concerns are considered.
- I am supported to participate fully and actively in my
Responsive care and support
- My health and social care needs are assessed and reviewed to
ensure I receive the right
support and care at the right time.
- My care and support adapts when my needs, choices and decisions
- I experience consistency in who provides my care and support
and in how it is provided.
- If I make a complaint it is acted on.
- I am asked about my lifestyle preferences and aspirations, and
I am supported
to achieve these.
- I am encouraged and helped to achieve my full potential.
- I am supported to make informed choices, even if this means I
might be taking
- I feel safe and I am protected from neglect, abuse, or
principles leaflet (PDF, 63K)
National Care Standards update
Where are we now
Work has continued apace over the last few months in
redeveloping the National Care Standards. Having established five
overarching principles earlier this year, we have spent the last
few months developing the draft new standards which will sit
We have even reviewed how we refer to the National Care
Standards to better reflect where they will apply. The consultation
asks for people’s views on what the standards should be called in
the longer-term, meanwhile for the purposes of the consultation,
they will be known as the new ‘National Health and Social Care
The new standards represent a significant development for people
in Scotland. They comprehensively set out what care and support
should actually look and feel like for people every time they use
health and social care services. For people familiar with the 2002
standards, the new standards will look and feel very different.
They have moved away from particular settings or registration
categories, are much more outcome-focused with less emphasis on
provider inputs, and much more person-centred so that people’s care
experiences are at the heart of a common understanding of
We are delighted to say that the new standards are now ready for
Consulting with the public
Week commencing 24 October will mark the launch of the Scottish
Government’s public consultation on the new standards. This will be
a further opportunity to engage with people who use, provide and
work in health and social care services.
Over the 12-week consultation period, the people of Scotland
will have the opportunity to comment on and help shape the final
standards. Ultimately, it is an opportunity to help ensure that the
standards support people to receive the same high standards of care
across the country, delivered in a way which reflects their own
personal needs and circumstances.
As part of the consultation, we will be carrying out a series of
engagement events across the country to help people understand how
the standards have been developed and what they will actually mean
for people who use care and support services. We will also be
launching a series of short films to help explain what the
standards will mean for people and we will run a social media
campaign to encourage as many people as possible to participate in
the consultation. Your support in promoting the consultation will
be greatly appreciated.
For more information on the consultation and regular updates
about the review of the National Care Standards, please visit