The NHS itself uses standards to drive the quality of healthcare, although they are not always referred to as such:
- Professional bodies such as the Royal Colleges set the standards for professional practice to which all their members are expected to follow. This ranges from good record keeping to the accepted way of performing an operation.
- Quality standards set by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) are a set of specific, concise statements that act as markers of high-quality, cost-effective patient care, covering the treatment and prevention of different diseases and conditions.
- The Government sets standards through legislation and regulation. Some of these standards refer to the way the NHS should manage itself while others are about the behaviour expected by individual clinicians. For example, the Government requires that all Doctors are registered in order to practise.
- International bodies such as the World Health Organization establish standards of good practice for the world.
IT standards are set in a similar manner:
- The Information Standards Board approve informations, data and technical standards for use by the NHS and adult social care, in liaison with the Information Standards Delivery function of the HSCIC.
- The Cabinet Office sets IT standards for the public sector via the 'Government ICT Strategy' and the 'UK Government Reference Architecture' - find these on the Inside Government website.
- International bodies such as ISO or HL7 approve standards for global use, although these need not necessarily be appropriate for local use.
There are other UK standards approval boards outside the NHS in England: