National Care Standards- A Guide

This is a public information leaflet covering the range of National Care Standards published by Scottish Ministers.

Using Care Services? National Care Standards
A Guide

This document is also available in pdf format (111k)

What are national care standards?

Scottish Ministers have developed and published national care standards for a range of care services. The standards aim to improve your quality of life by raising the level of care and support provided. They are making sure that you receive the same high quality of service, no matter where you live in Scotland.

The standards are written from the user's viewpoint. They are based on a set of principles that highlight how important it is for those providing care services to recognise and accept you as an individual. These principles are

  • dignity

  • privacy

  • choice

  • safety

  • realising potential

  • equality and diversity

If you, a member of your family, or someone you know, is using care services now, or intends to use them in the future, the standards will provide guidance and will help you when making decisions. If things go wrong, the standards can also provide a useful reference and help you to raise concerns or make a complaint.

The standards set out what you can expect from care services at all stages of your journey through a service. Providers will have to comply with the standards and the related legislation. A new national regulator, the Care Commission, will inspect services to ensure that the standards are being met. There are more details about the Care Commission opposite.

The Care Commission

The Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001 set up the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care. The Care Commission registers and inspects the services listed in the Act, taking account of the national care standards published by Scottish Ministers. The Care Commission is responsible to the Scottish Ministers.

If you have a complaint about either a registered care service, or the Care Commission itself, you can make it to the Care Commission who will deal with it quickly and sympathetically.

You can contact the Care Commission at:

The Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care
Compass House
11 Riverside Drive
Dundee DD1 4NY
Tel: 01382 207100
Fax: 01382 207289

National care standards have been published for:

  • Adoption agenciesAdult placement services

  • Care at home

  • Care homes for children and young people

  • Care homes for people with drug and alcohol misuse problems

  • Care homes for people with learning disabilities

  • Care homes for people with mental health problems

  • Care homes for older people

  • Care homes for people with physical and sensory impairment

  • Early education and childcare up to the age of 16

  • Foster care and family placement services

  • Hospice care

  • Housing support services

  • Independent hospitals

  • Nurse agencies

  • School care accommodation services

  • Services for people in criminal justice supported

  • accommodation

  • Short breaks and respite care services for adults

  • Support services

National care standards will be published in 2003 for:

  • Private medical practices

  • Private dental practices

  • Specialist clinics providing cosmetic surgery, diet and laser treatments

  • Childcare agencies

You can see a copy of any of the national care standards by visiting

You should also be able to see the national care standards booklets at your local library.

Copies of the national care standards booklets are available from:
The Stationery Office Bookshop
71 Lothian Road
Edinburgh EH3 9AZ
Tel: 0870 606 55 66
Price 5.00 each.

The Care Standards and Sponsorship Branch of the Scottish Executive Health Department also has a website which you may find useful.

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