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The National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards were developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care in collaboration with the Australian Government, states and territories, the private sector, clinical experts, patients and carers. The primary aims of the NSQHS Standards are to protect the public from harm and to improve the quality of health service provision. They provide a quality assurance mechanism that tests whether relevant systems are in place to ensure that expected standards of safety and quality are met.
The second edition of the NSQHS Standards was endorsed by Health Ministers in June 2017, and released in November 2017.
The second edition 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.
Assessment to the second edition will commence from 1 January 2019. Health service organisations will be informed of the transition arrangements well in advance of implementation.
There are eight standards and 148 actions in the second edition of the NSQHS Standards, compared with 10 standards and 256 actions in the first edition.
Approximately 66 per cent of actions in the second edition relate directly to actions from the first edition. Similar or related actions have been merged together to reduce duplication and simplify compliance. The remaining 34 per cent of actions in the second edition of the NSQHS Standards is new content and includes mental health and cognitive impairment, health literacy, end-of-life care, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
There are no developmental actions in the second edition of the NSQHS Standards. Health service organisations may apply for actions to be classified ‘not applicable‘ if they are not relevant to the service they provide.
Download a copy of the NSQHS Standards (second edition) here.
Download a document mapping the actions in the second edition to the first edition here.
Introduction to the NSQHS Standards
The first edition of the NSQHS Standards, which was released in 2011, has been used to assess health service organisations since January 2013. Using the NSQHS Standards, health service organisations have put in place safety and quality systems that have improved patient safety. For example, the rates of healthcare-associated infections have decreased, in-hospital cardiac arrests have decreased, adverse drug reactions and medication histories are better documented and less antibiotics are prescribed due to improvements in antibiotic stewardship.
Safe and high-quality care requires the vigilance and cooperation of the whole healthcare workforce. It is based on a risk mitigation approach that focuses on implementing the NSQHS Standards as routine practice and identifies healthcare staff responsible for specific actions. The second edition of the NSQHS Standards comprises eight standards. Clinical Governance and Partnering with Consumers Standards combine to form the clinical governance framework for all health service organisations. They support and integrate with all the clinical standards, which cover specific areas of patient care. The eight standards are: