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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

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The QED standards

Below is information on what the standards cover, and how they have been developed.

Please click the links below for more information:

Our standards

We believe that it is important that our standards reflect the issues which make a difference to the experience of the person using the service. 


For this reason, the standards follow a patient pathway through care and how the service interfaces with other services.  As far as possible, standards are written from the service user perspective, with an emphasis on a purposeful admission.


Download a copy of the QED Adult Inpatient Standards              


Meeting national requirements

We recognise that services are under increased pressure to demonstrate that they comply with national policies and guidelines. 


For this reason our standards incorporate requirements and recommendations set out nationally. 


This means that the process of accreditation will enable your service to demonstrate where it is currently meeting national requirements and will support the service to meet them where it is not currently.


The standards are aligned with:

  • Department of Health Policy Implementation Guides
  • the findings of the Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide
  • NICE guidance
  • recommendations by NHS Estates and the Royal College of Psychiatrists about ward design
  • the National Patient Safety Agency’s Safer Wards for Acute Psychiatry Initiative
  • recommendations arising from the National Audit of Violence.
  • MARSIPAN giudelines
  • East of England Specialised Commissioning Group care pathway

Reflecting the views of those in the field

We know that those who are in the field have the best understanding of the issues and challenges that they face in providing high quality care. 


The standards that we use are underpinned by a core set of values developed by our expert QED advisory group, made up of a large group of 25 members and includes senior representatives from adult and CAMHS services, inpatient and community services and includes psychiatry, psychology, nursing, occupational therapy, dietetics and commissioning. There are also representation from front-line staff, service users, carers and other interested groups such as professional bodies.

What the standards cover

The standards cover five domains:

  • General Standards, including policies, protocols and staffing related issues
  • Timely and Purposeful Admission
  • Safety
  • Environment and Facilities
  • Therapies and Activities

The complete set of standards is aspirational; we do not expect services to meet every standard, and services can still be accredited as excellent without meeting all the standards.

How we measure performance against the standards

We recognise that wards are diverse and that, for example, high quality care does not necessarily require a new purpose-built ward.  Therefore, services are categorised against each standard at one of three levels:


Level 1: failure to meet these standards could result in a significant threat to the safety, rights or dignity of service users and/or would breach the law.  These standards must be met for a ward to be accredited


Level 2: standards that an accredited ward would be expected to meet


Level 3: standards that an excellent ward should meet or standards that are not the direct responsibility of the ward

Keeping up to date

We review the standards regularly to ensure that they continue to reflect developments in policy and practice and any issues identified through the accreditation process.

Where next...

  • How accreditation works
  • Governance - how QED is organised and run
  • How to join
  • Contact us 


21 Prescot St, London E1 8BB
Tel: 020 3701 2658  Fax: 084 3659 3698 


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