In anticipation of NICE’s foray into the field of social care, from April 2013, the DH has agreed an initial list of joint NHS/social care quality standard topics for NICE to start work on, the better by which to judge the quality of social care.

The list includes:

  • Autism in adults and children
  • Mental wellbeing of older people in residential care
  • The transition between health and social care, including discharge planning, admission avoidance, reducing re-admissions and reducing unnecessary bed occupancy
  • Medicines management in care homes
  • Management of physical and mental co-morbidities of older people in community and residential care settings
  • Domiciliary care
  • Transition between children and adult services
  • Maltreatment of children

This agenda arose from NICE consulting with the care and support sector, and identified priority areas for action emerging from the Care and Support White Paper, which set out the Government’s plans for driving up the quality of social care.

Yet, even as we reflect upon the disconcerting assertion that we need to be told what high quality care looks like, it remains the case that no-one has yet explained quite how these benchmarks of excellence sit with respect to the Care Quality Commission’s minimum standards.