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Implementing the new Health and Social Care Standards

 Helen Malo 3 Apr 2018

New health and social care standards are published this month. RCN Scotland will be working hard to ensure their implementation realises the improvements the new standards promise to achieve, says Helen Malo.

This month, new Health and Social Care Standards are being introduced by the Scottish Government. The standards set out what we should expect when using any 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 replace the old National Care Standards, which only applied to social care services such as care homes. The new standards apply across all settings, whether someone is being cared for in hospital or a care home or a children’s nursery, or even if they are receiving care in their own homes.

RCN Scotland has long called for the standards to be updated and made fit for purpose. We have been closely involved in the development of the new standards to ensure they reflect the needs of our members and how you deliver care. As a result of our lobbying, the standards now include that any treatment must be safe and effective. Read our submission to the original consultation. 

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.

How the standards are being implemented and inspected against is still not clear. RCN Scotland is involved with the group tasked with implementing the standards and we have continually asked what the impact of the standards will be on all staff delivering care. We have also made clear that all scrutiny activity needs to be streamlined to reduce the burden placed on staff.

The Care Inspectorate is phasing in implementation from this month, starting with care homes for older people. They are developing a new way to inspect care homes, based on these standards, which we have commented on, and we expect other scrutiny bodies will begin using and inspecting against the new standards at a later date.

RCN Scotland will work hard to influence the implementation of the standards to understand what they mean for our members and how they relate to other existing clinical standards.




Helen Malo, Policy Officer, RCN Scotland

Helen Malo

Policy Officer, RCN Scotland

Policy Officer