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


Our standards

Please click the links below for more information:


Overarching principles

The overarching principles that have guided the development of our standards are that:

  • People with dementia/suspected dementia should have fair access to assessment, care and treatment on the basis of need, irrespective of age, gender, social or cultural background, and are not excluded from services because of their diagnosis, age or co-existing disabilities/medical problems.

  • People with dementia/suspected dementia and their carers should receive a service that is person-centred and takes into account their unique and changing personal, psychosocial and physical needs.


What the standards cover

Memory services differ widely in their organisation, funding, staffing and levels of service, even within the same Trust.

The standards therefore currently centre on ‘function’, rather than any particular model of service delivery.

The standards currently cover these domains:

  • Management systems for the service
  • Resources available to support assessment and diagnosis
  • Assessment and diagnosis
  • Pharmacological interventions
  • Signposting to ongoing care management and follow up
  • Psychosocial interventions


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 are drawn from relevant policies, guidelines and research literature and have been developed in consultation with our members, our partner organisations and patient and carer networks.


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.

A multidisciplinary standards development group, comprising of representatives from MSNAP member services, our partner organisations, and patient and carer representatives, is responsible for the revision process.

The sixth edition standards were published in April 2018 and these will be due for revision again in 2019.

How we measure performance against the standards

The full set of standards and criteria is aspirational and it is unlikely that any service would meet all of them. Therefore, services are categorised against each standard at one of three levels:

Type 1: failure to meet these standards would result in a significant threat to patient safety, rights or dignity and/or would breach the law. These standards also include the fundamentals of care, including the provision of evidence based care and treatment.

These standards must be met for a service to be accredited.

Type 2: standards that an accredited service would be expected to meet.

Type 3: standards that are aspirational or standards that are not the direct responsibility of the service.



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6th edition standards published

April 2018


Download a copy of the 6th edition MSNAP Standards