NHS service standard - 15. Support a culture of care

Caring is the core business of the NHS. NHS services should provide a positive experience of care or help NHS staff provide a caring service.

All services should make patients, the public and staff feel included, valued and supported and, as far as possible, involve people in their own care.

Why it's important

Digital services are not excluded from the NHS commitment to care and compassion. Small things make a difference when people are, for example, sick or stressed, grieving or dying.

We can improve people's experience of care by being inclusive and treating them with respect.

What you should do

Your team should be able to show that you:

  • listen to and understand your users' personal, cultural, social and religious needs as well as their care needs
  • are respectful and inclusive
  • take users' fears and concerns seriously and think carefully about their context and circumstances
  • where appropriate, involve people in decisions about their care and respect their right to choose - for example, to book an appointment with a female member of staff or to delay treatment
  • balance helping users complete the task with an appropriate tone, reassurance, and clear explanations
  • signpost to support to help people cope emotionally
  • tell people what will happen next and, where appropriate, keep them informed and involved in the progress of their care and treatment
  • use the most appropriate channels, including the phone or face to face contact


NHS service manual

See also service standard points:

GOV.UK resources

This point is not included in the GOV.UK service standard, but there is some relevant guidance in the GOV.UK service manual.

Read more about this

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Updated: July 2021