Unit 27 Managing Quality in HSC

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The aim of this unit is to help learners develop an understanding of different perspectives on health and social care service quality and how it is evaluated in order to empower and involve users of services.

Unit abstract

Quality is an essential component of health and social care services and a concept with many different interpretations and perspectives. It is important to both users of health and social care services and external stakeholders. In this unit learners will gain knowledge of these differing perspectives and consider ways in which health and care service quality may be improved. Improvement of service quality requires both the empowerment and involvement of users of services, as well as addressing the requirements of external regulatory bodies. Learners will explore the requirements of external regulators and contrast them with the expectations of those who use services. Learners will also gain knowledge of some of the methods that can be used to assess different quality perspectives, and develop the ability to evaluate these methods against service objectives. Health and social care is a high contact service industry, and learners will be introduced to some of the concepts of managing service quality with an aim of achieving continuous improvement and exceeding minimum standards.

Learning outcomes

1 Understand differing perspectives of quality in relation to health and social care services

  • Quality perspectives: perspectives of external bodies eg conformance; perspectives of staff; perspectives of those who use services eg Servqual – Zeithaml, Parasuraman and Berry; technical quality; functional quality; quality assurance; quality control; quality audit; quality management
  • Stakeholders: external agencies eg Care Quality Commission; Supporting People; National Institute for Clinical Excellence; Health Service Commissioners; local authorities; users of services eg direct users of services, families, carers; professionals; managers; support workers.

2 Understand strategies for achieving quality in health and social care services

  • Standards: minimum standards; best practice; benchmarks; performance indicators; charters; codes of practice; legislation eg local, national, European
  • Implementing quality: planning, policies and procedures; target setting; audit; monitoring; review; resources (financial, equipment, personnel, accommodation); communication; information; adapting to change
  • Barriers: external (inter-agency interactions, legislation, social policy); internal (risks, resources, organisational structures, interactions between people).

3 Be able to evaluate systems, policies and procedures in health and social care services

  • Evaluating quality: different quality methods and systems eg Total Quality Management, Continuous Quality Improvement; concepts; preventing problems; management leadership, control of processes, involvement of people; quality circles
  • Health and care organisation: services eg an NHS trust, a local authority social care service, a private health or social care service, a not-for-profit health and care service
  • Improving quality: methods eg customer service, empowering users of services, functional quality, putting people first, valuing front-line staff, internally generated standards that exceed minimum requirements.

4 Understand methodologies for evaluating health and social care service quality

  • Methods for assessing service quality: methods eg questionnaires, focus groups, structured and semi-structured interviews, panels, complaints procedures, road shows
  • Perspectives: external eg requirements of inspection agencies (minimum standards); internal eg organisational standards; continuous improvement
  • Involving users of services: mechanisms eg consultation, panels, empowerment, user managed services.


  • Hasegawa, K.,Wurita, A., Minakata, K., Gonmori, K., Nozawa, H., Yamagishi, I., Watanabe, K. & Suzuki, O. 2015, "Postmortem distribution of MAB-CHMINACA in body fluids and solid tissues of a human cadaver", Forensic Toxicology,vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 380-387
  • Jennings, T. 2014, "Survive! Inside The Human Body Vol.1: The Digestive System Vol.2: The Circulatory System Vol.3: The Nervous System (Science Adventure Comics)", The School Librarian, vol. 62, no. 2, pp. 110.

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