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Essence of Care

The trust is committed to improving and sustaining clinical qualities and standards. The way we do this is by asking each clinical team to get involved in Essence of Care benchmarking.


  • Practitioners get together with people using services to discuss what is best practice and how it can be achieved
  • Team work and sharing between similar areas is encouraged
  • Innovative practice is identified, recognized & celebrated
  • The service user and getting their experience right is the focus and driver of the work
  • Benchmarking is supportive & enabling, it encourages change and improvement

Originally launched in 2001 Essence of Care, provides a toolkit to help practitioners to take a structured approach to sharing and comparing practice, enabling them to identify best practice and develop action plans to remedy poor practice. Since then more benchmarks have been added and the original set is being reviewed. With a new one in development by mid 2009 we should have national benchmarks for

  • Principles of self care
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Personal hygiene and mouth care
  • Continence and bladder and bowel care
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Record keeping
  • Safety of patients with mental health needs
  • Privacy and dignity
  • Communication
  • Promoting health
  • The Care Environment
    And on its way
  • Pain

In addition to these national benchmarks our Trust has worked hard to produce a benchmark on the Recovery approach. This allows our mental health services to benchmark our approach against best practice in recovery focused services.

What Happens?

  1. First the teams select an area of practice that they would like to look at.
  2. Then the teams are rated against best practice. A group of people including staff, people who use the service and others work together to get an accurate picture of what the situation is.
  3. This allows us to benchmark with both our internal and external partners
  4. Next we make a plan together to help improve practice or to share good standards with others.
  5. We check to see that changes have been made and the people using services benefit.