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 the
patient pathway through care and how the service interfaces with
As far as possible, standards are written from
the service user perspective, with an emphasis on a purposeful
Meeting national requirements
We recognise that services are under increased
pressure to demonstrate that they comply with national policies and
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
- 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.
Reflecting the views of those in the field
We know that people working 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 advisory groups, and
have been refined in consultation with front-line staff, patients,
carers, other interested groups such as national charities and
We review the standards each year to ensure
that they continue to reflect developments in policy and practice
and any issues identified through the accreditation process.
What the standards cover
The standards cover five domains:
- General Standards, including policies, protocols and staffing
- Timely and Purposeful Admission;
- 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 without meeting all the standards.
How we measure performance against the
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
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.
Download a copy of the standards
To download the relevant standards,
please follow the links below:
- Wards for working-age adults (AIMS-WA). Standards
for safe and appropriate care for young people on adult wards can
- Assessment wards for working-age adults (AIMS-AT)