patient standards

Patient standards

When in hospital, visiting your GP or meeting your social worker, you want to be treated with respect. The Northern Ireland Health Service has five standards for staff when they treat or give care to patients. These standards apply to all services.

Five standards for patient care

The five standards of care that apply every time you use the health service are:

  • respect
  • attitude
  • behaviour
  • communication
  • privacy and dignity


Staff will respect you and your family by:

  • listening to and respecting your wishes
  • personalising your care and treating you as an individual
  • involving you in decisions about your care


Staff will have a positive attitude towards you and your family. They will be:

  • welcoming, approachable and ready to help
  • positive and non-judgemental
  • compassionate and caring


Staff will be professional and considerate. They will:

  • be polite
  • call you by your preferred name
  • respect your personal space
  • ask for your consent at all stages (when this is required)
  • be open and interested in any feedback you have or challenges you want to make


Staff will be sensitive in dealing with you and your family. They will:

  • make sure you feel comfortable and at ease in all of their contact with you
  • give you clear, accurate information that is easy to understand
  • listen to you so they can respond to your needs and expectations
  • accurately record important details of their conversations with you 
  • involve your carers and family members in your care, when it is suitable

Privacy and dignity

Your privacy and dignity will be protected at all times. Staff will make sure that:

  • your modesty is protected
  • cultural diversity is respected
  • as much as possible is done to make sure your privacy and dignity are protected so you feel comfortable, confident and cared for
  • your personal information is collected, used and stored securely and confidentially

Your experience of the health service

If you are unhappy with the patient care you  received, you have the right to let staff or senior management know.  They must deal with your complaint or comment seriously and in confidence. 

If you comment or complain about the health service, this won't affect your care. 

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