All you need to know about healthcare standards

healthy-8What are health care standards?

Quite simply, they are the standards to which all health care and associated professionals must abide by.

Who works out health care standards?

This depends on the type of health care. However, the Health Care Standards Unit (HCSU) is a national body that oversees monitors and lays down guidelines for GPs and other primary health care teams.

How does the Health Care Standards Unit operate?

The HCSU has identified several areas which the organisation feels are the most appropriate. These are:

  1. Management arrangement
  2. Patient experience
  3. Providing primary health care
  4. Management of medicines
  5. Patient records and information
  6. Clinical governance
  7. Risk management and assessment
  8. Running a practice


How does the HCSU work out what standards are needed?

Some years ago the unit published a document to help develop a framework for creating high health care standards, by which all health providers should consider when providing services. These include

  1. Challenging discrimination.
  1. Ensuring all people can access the right services for their needs.
  1. Ensure the quality of service provided is at the highest level possible irrespective of the recipient’s background.
  1. Ensure that each person’s human rights are respected, including employees.
  1. Ensure all people are treated equally and with equal respect and dignity, including employees.

Do health care standards apply to private medical providers?

The short answer is yes. All practitioners working in the private sector are legally obliged to register with the Health Care Commission (now Care Quality Commission).

The Care Standards Act also lays down strict rules governing all private medical practices including private hospitals. Each hospital must also have its own Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) which is composed of a group of medical consultants.

The job of the MAC is to advise the management of the private hospital, with particular reference to clinical issues. This includes ensuring anyone employed by the hospital is qualified.

The MAC also monitors the performance of its hospital employees to ensure they are providing the highest health care standards some of which include

  1. Ensuring the individual is qualified and has the necessary expertise to carry out the clinical work.
  2. Ensuring the individual is competent.
  3. Monitoring the record keeping of both the individual practitioner and the hospital overall.

What is the Care Quality Commission?

This is the official body that ensure that all health professionals are adhering to the health care standards as laid down by the Health Care Standards Unit.