Policy - children's social care at breaking point

Transition from children’s to adults’ services

10th January 2017

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published a new Quality Standard for Transition from children’s to adults’ services.

What is a NICE Quality Standard?

Quality standards set out the priority areas for quality improvement in health and social care. They cover areas where there is variation in care. They are for anyone wanting to improve the quality of health and care services. This could include commissioners, service providers, health, public health and social care practitioners and regulators like the Care Quality Commission and Ofsted.

What is the Quality Standard for Transition from children’s to adults’ services?

NICE says that, ‘This quality standard covers all young people (aged up to 25) using children’s health and social care services who are due to make the transition to adults’ services. It includes young people:

  • with mental health conditions,
  • with disabilities,
  • with long-term, life-limiting or complex needs,
  • in secure settings,
  • under the care of local authorities.

‘Some young people may only enter children’s health or social care services shortly before they transfer to adults’ services. They are within the scope of the quality standard, providing they are using children’s services at the time of their transfer to adults’ services.

‘For some young people (such as, those receiving palliative care or those with a condition where improvement has occurred), it may not be appropriate to make the transition to adults’ services and this quality standard would not apply.

‘The quality standard covers the period before, during and after a young person moves from children’s to adults’ services. It covers all settings in which transitions from children’s to adults’ health or social care services take place. It describes high-quality care in priority areas for improvement. It does not cover areas of national policy, such as funding for health or social care.’

What happens with the Quality Standard?

According to NICE, these quality standards should be achievable by local services, which is why NICE has produced a number of useful tools and resources to support organisations with the Quality Standard. There are implementation resources and guidance on putting the quality standard into practice.

Once in practice, the quality standard is expected to contribute to improvements in the following outcomes:

  • the young person’s experience of transition,
  • the parents’ and carer’s experience of transition,
  • health-related quality of life,
  • social care-related quality of life,
  • engaging with adults’ services,
  • unplanned care following transfer from children’s to adults’ services.

This quality standard has been incorporated into the NICE pathway on transition from children’s to adults’ services and you can read the full report here.



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