New National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards released

Published 14 January 2018

All health services are assessed (or accredited) against the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) standards. With the recent release of the Second Edition of the NSQHS standards, health services now have a range of new action items that will be required for accreditation from the beginning of 2019. Some of these are likely to be highly relevant for allied health professionals, particularly psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers and others working with patients with cognitive impairment and mental health issues.

The new cognitive impairment and mental health action items mean that health services must show that these issues are being considered as part of the care provided to patients. Examples of this may include routine cognitive screening for patients over 65 years, though appropriate activities will need to be in place for patients of all ages. Health services will need to prepare themselves for the new requirements of the next year by considering whether new policies and procedures will be required and where responsibility will lie for different activities. Given the nature of these actions items, allied health practitioners working in health services are likely to be important contributors. It is likely to be very worthwhile to keep abreast of opportunities to help prepare for implementation of the Standards in your work setting.

For more information about the new Standards, please see below.

NSQHS Standards (second edition) now available

The second edition of the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards, which was endorsed by Health Ministers in July 2017, is now available.

Australia is recognised as having one of the safest healthcare systems in the world. But providing health care is a complex process, and it is important for health service organisations to have proven and effective safety and quality systems in place to minimise the risk of harm to patients. The NSQHS Standards provide health service organisations with a framework for implementing these systems.

Since the implementation of the first edition in 2013, health service organisations have used the NSQHS Standards to put in place strategies that have been demonstrated to improve patient care. The Commission has worked closely with the Australian Government, states and territories, private sector partners, clinicians, consumers, technical experts and many stakeholders to review the NSQHS Standards and develop the second edition and its supporting resources.

The second edition of the NSQHS Standards addresses gaps identified in the first edition, including mental health and cognitive impairment, health literacy, end-of-life care, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. It also updates the evidence for actions, consolidates and streamlines standards and actions to make them clearer and easier to implement.
Health service organisations will be assessed to the second edition of the NSQHS Standards from January 2019. The Commission will provide information on the transition arrangements for assessment well in advance of implementation.

The Commission’s National Model Clinical Governance Framework is also available now. Leaders of health service organisations have a responsibility to the community for ensuring that their services are person-centred, safe and effective. Building on the NSQHS Standards, the Framework provides information about corporate and clinical governance, and roles and responsibilities for people within a health service organisation.

The Commission has developed a range of other resources to support implementation of the NSQHS Standards. These are available here.

For more information on the second edition and related resources please contact the National Standards team on 1800 304 056 or [email protected]