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Information Resources > Standards and Outcomes

These documents and guides are concerned with elements of service provision that are deliverable and measurable.

National Service Frameworks
National Occupational Standards for Mental Health
Outcome Measures for routine practice in mental health services


National Service Framework for Mental Health

National Service Framework for Adult Mental Health

The National Service Framework (NSF) for adult mental health, published on 30 September 1999, focuses on the mental health needs of working age adults and applies to both health and social services.

The framework sets national standards and defines service models for promoting mental health and treating mental illness in the five following areas: mental health promotion; primary care and access to services; effective services for people with severe mental illness; caring about carers; and preventing suicide.

Download the full document in pdf format here

Download the Executive Summary in pdf format here

Getting the Right Start: NSF for Children

The Government has an ongoing commitment to the improvement of child and adolescent mental health services, as outlined in National Priorities Guidance and the commitments in the NHS Plan. A National Service Framework for children and young people is currently in development and will include standards to improve mental health services. The Standard for Hospital Services has already been published as well as a consultation document on Emerging Findings.

Download: Getting the Right Start: NSF for Children, Emerging Findings
Download: Getting the Right Start: NSF for Children, Standard for Hospital Services

Older adults

The National Service Framework for older people was published on 27 March 2001 and sets out new national standards of care for older people, including those with mental health problems.

Standard seven of this NSF states that older people who have mental health problems should have access to integrated mental health services, provided by the NHS and councils, to ensure effective diagnosis, treatment and support, for them and their carers.

By April 2004, primary care groups and primary care trusts will have ensured that every general practice uses protocols agreed with local specialist services, both health and social care, to diagnose, treat and care for patients with depression or dementia. Health and social care systems should have agreed protocols in place for the care and management of older people with mental health problems.

Download NSF for Older People
Download Executive Summary

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National Occupational Standards for Mental Health(NOS)

The Mental Health NOS describe good practice and provide a benchmark against which the mental health workforce and organisations can assess and measure their performance.

Occupational standards can be used in the management and development of organisations and individuals.

They can be used by:

  • individuals - to help them develop their own knowledge and skills, to improve their own performance and to gain credit for their achievements
  • people who offer education and training - to identify individuals' learning neeeds, to define the learning outcomes which individuals need to achieve, and to provide the the basis of qualifications
  • workers and agencies - to improve their quality of the services they offer.

Download the following publications which introduce and explain the standards:
Introductory leaflet
Implementation Guide
Mental Health Occupational Standards Framework
The full standards can be downloaded from the Skills for Health Online Database. Click here.

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Outcome Measures for routine practice in mental health services

The Department of Health is committed to the implementation of outcome measures in routine practice in mental heath services from April 2003. The measures will encompass aspects of mortality, morbidity, quality of life and user and carer satisfaction, and key features will be their feasibility and clinical utility.

Routine use of outcome measures will facilitate and support dialogue between service users, carers and clinicians, will enable managers to understand more fully the effectiveness of clinical practice and service delivery, and allow data to be brought together to provide a national picture of performance.

The aim of the pilots is to give a more detailed picture of how the instruments work in practice, and to understand how they can be effectively rolled out across the country.

Download An Overview of the Department of Health Outcomes Pilots

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