The Government in Scotland is, after extensive consultation, at the last stage of implementing new standards to which all care services will be expected to conform.
To date, consultation has produced a set of five overarching principles, under each of which the final form of the standards will be listed.
The principles have already been published, with interim statements of what service users can expect under each principle. The principles are now applicable, and care services should show, if they are registered and inspected, how they have implemented the principles. Best practice would mean that even if a service is not registrable, then any element of care they provide should follow the relevant principles as already issued.
New approaches to care standards
The Government stated at the outset that:
‘…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 quality.’
The standards issued so far certainly are different. It is immediately clear that there will be less focus on what the service provider does, or should do. The emphasis instead is on the rights and views of the person who is receiving the service, and on how their expressed personal outcomes and aspirations are worked towards.
This is reflected in the language of the new standards: whereas the previous National Care Standards would say: ‘you can expect..’, the new language is ‘I can expect…’ Particular standards which stood out for me were:
1.7: ‘I experience encouragement and warmth, and my strengths and achievements are celebrated’
1.11: ‘I am recognised by people who support and care for me as an expert in my own experiences, needs and wishes’
1.34: ‘If I experience care and support in a group, I can choose to make my own meals, snacks and drinks, with support if I need it.’
The implementation group’s latest information bulletin states that the final form of general and some service-specific standards will be issued from this month, and rolled out over the next year to all services. By this time next year, the standards should finally all be in their final form, and being used and applied in care services and in their regulation or scrutiny.
If services have not already done so, I think good advice is to ensure that the new standards are the subject of training for all staff. The principles should also be incorporated in the quality assurance systems, to ensure that they are real features of how the service is experienced by its stakeholders.