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15th May 2016

Countdown to New Care Standards in Scotland Stage 2

The National Care Standards in Scotland are considered in Scotland in registering, choosing, commissioning and inspecting a wide range of care services.

I wrote previously about the current review of these standards. They are needing replaced, having been introduced in 2002: the social context of care has changed, with new expectations and a changed landscape in the regulation of care. Over 2017/18 the Scottish Government intends to begin to implement, after due consultation, a wider and more encompassing set of National Care Standards They will be applicable to all health and care contexts: in care homes, domiciliary support, hospitals, dentistry, NHS surgeries and social work and criminal justice services.

The standards are planned to be implemented in three stages:

  1. Formal adoption of the overarching principles: Feb 2016.
  2. Development and consultation about generic and service specific standards: Feb - Autumn 2016.
  3. Generic and specific standards rolled out: April 2017/18.

In countdown terms, we are at number 2. I promised to keep up to date with developments in this process, and to write about it in this blog.

Current situation

A specific website is now available to inform people about progress being made. This is at and promises to issue regular bulletins on progress.

At present the site lists the agreed overall principles of care. These use human rights language, a new approach receiving overall approval in earlier consultation. The principles have now been approved by Scottish Government ministers.  They are:

  • Dignity and respect;
  • Compassion;
  • Be included;
  • Responsive care and support;
  • Wellbeing.

The website offers a transparent and overall picture of how the principles were derived, consulted upon and refined. Details are listed for each of the principles, and these give a useful preparation for services to consider at present. I give a collection of these details below, which will I believe cover the main themes detailed in the final standards.

Implications of the Principles

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 support.
  • My care is provided by people who understand and are sensitive to my needs and my wishes.

Be included

  • 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 community.

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 change.
  • 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 personal risks.
  • I feel safe and I am protected from neglect, abuse, or avoidable harm.

Preparing for the new standards

Care services should now be thinking ahead to how they will contribute to upcoming consultation on general as well as on detailed, specific standards.

A regular audit should be carried out, including service users' views, of whether people can truly make all of the above statements about the service they receive. If not, then time to make the needed changes is now, not some time down the line when an inspection raises the issues for you.

As with any change, staff training and involvement is vital. The website gives leaflets and posters to download which would form a good framework to begin - or continue-  staff development on the forthcoming changes.

And remember to keep strong evidence of how service users have been involved, evidence of improvement, and evidence to demonstrate sustainable change.

Overall the new standards are looking to promote inclusion, and recognise people's aspirations and ambitions in life. The changes should be refreshing, and good preparation will help services to provide proactive and enjoyable experiences for all, carers and cared for.

Tony Clarke – QCS Expert Scottish Care Contributor

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