NICE consults on new draft quality standards and guidance on service user experience in mental health and patient experience in NHS services
Over the past few years several documents and initiatives have highlighted the importance of the service user's experience and the need to focus on improving these experiences where possible. These include Lord Darzi's report 'High quality care for all' (2008)1, which highlighted the importance of the entire service user experience within the NHS, ensuring people are treated with compassion, dignity and respect within a clean, safe and well-managed environment. There have also been national initiatives introduced aimed at improving patients' experience of healthcare including NHS Choices. The Government also signalled in its white paper, 'Equity and excellence: liberating the NHS' (2010)2 that more emphasis needs to be placed on improving service users' experience of NHS care.
To deliver the best possible experience for patients who use NHS services, high quality care should be clinically effective and safe. These quality standards and clinical guidance, once finalised, will aim to ensure that patients have an excellent experience of care from the NHS.
The draft quality standard for service user experience in adult mental health contains a number of statements, which include ensuring that people have timely and efficient access to mental health services. It also states that people using mental health services are supported by mental health and social care professionals who are trained in cultural awareness by a programme which includes input from local voluntary organisations who work with black and minority ethnic (BME) communities. In addition the standard states that people using mental health services can be assured that services are combating the stigma associated with mental health problems, mental illness and mental health services.
The draft quality standard for improving the quality of patient experience includes ensuring that patients are given the opportunity to discuss their health beliefs, concerns and preferences in order to individualise their care. It also states that patients have their physical (such as nutrition, hydration and personal hygiene) needs and psychological (such as fear and anxiety) concerns assessed in an environment that maintains their dignity and confidentiality. In addition the standard states that patients have their requirements for continuity of care considered - this may involve seeing the same healthcare professional/team.
NICE is today also opening consultations on two draft pieces of clinical guidance, on service user experience in adult mental health, and improving the quality of patient experience. This guidance is, for the first time, being developed alongside the quality standards and aims to promote person-centred care that takes into account service users' and patients' needs, concerns and preferences.
Dr Fergus Macbeth, Director of the Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE said: "Patient and service user experience can be as important as clinical outcomes, therefore ensuring that there are standards in place that help improve that experience is crucial.
"Such experience is a good indicator of service delivery and can highlight key issues within the services. The draft standards and guidance will be available for consultation on the NICE website for one month, providing registered stakeholders with a good opportunity to submit their comments."
These draft standards and guidance have been issued for consultation; NICE has not yet published the final quality standards and guidance to the NHS.
These draft standards/draft guidance are available for consultation on the NICE website from Tuesday 21 June until 5.00pm on Tuesday 19 July at:
This allows registered stakeholders to comment and help identify which statements and recommendations are most important to support service improvement. All eligible comments will be reviewed by the Guidance Development Group and the standards/guidance will be refined in light of this information. The final quality standards and guidance are expected to be published in October 2011.
NICE commissioned the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health to develop the service user experience in adult mental health guidance and quality standard. The National Clinical Guideline Centre was commissioned to develop the patient experience in adult NHS services guidance and quality standard. The Centres established a Guidance Development Groups, which reviewed the evidence and developed the recommendations.
Notes to Editors
- NICE quality standards (QS) are a set of specific, concise statements and measures that act as markers of high-quality, clinical and cost-effective patient care. They are the only standards that apply nationally in health and social care, and are developed from the very best available evidence, such as NICE guidance or other NHS Evidence-accredited sources. Quality standards are produced with the NHS and social care, along with their partners, service users and carers. They are a pivotal part of the new NHS Outcomes Framework3, an overview of aims and objectives in improving patient outcomes in the NHS.
- There is more information on NICE quality standards at: http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qualitystandards/qualitystandards.jsp
- Quality standard topics are referred to NICE by ministers on the advice of the National Quality Board, a group of representatives from health and social care, committed to improving quality in the NHS and overseeing the reforms aimed at improving care. Further information on the National Quality Board can be found at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Healthcare/NationalQualityBoard/index.htm
- NICE clinical guidance is recommendations on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS in England and Wales. Clinical guidance is based on the best available evidence. Guidance helps healthcare professionals in their work, but does not replace their knowledge and skills.
1. Lord Darzi's report High quality care for all (2008) can be found at:
2. The white paper, 'Equity and excellence: liberating the NHS' (2010) can be found at:
3. The recently announced Transparency in Outcomes framework for the NHS proposes using quality standards to produce more detailed commissioning guidance to meet the suggested outcome goals. The NHS Outcomes Framework can be found at:
1. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance and standards on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health.
2. NICE produces guidance in three areas of health:
- public health - guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention of ill health for those working in the NHS, local authorities and the wider public and voluntary sector
- health technologies - guidance on the use of new and existing medicines, treatments, medical technologies (including devices and diagnostics) and procedures within the NHS
- clinical practice - guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS.
3. NICE produces standards for patient care:
- quality standards - these reflect the very best in high quality patient care, to help healthcare practitioners and commissioners of care deliver excellent services
- Quality and Outcomes Framework - NICE develops the clinical and health improvement indicators in the QOF, the Department of Health scheme which rewards GPs for how well they care for patients.
4. NICE provides advice and support on putting NICE guidance and standards into practice through its implementation programme, and it collates and accredits high quality health guidance, research and information to help health professionals deliver the best patient care through NHS Evidence.
This page was last updated: 21 June 2011