The National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards were developed and are governed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) as part of the Australian Health Service Safety and Quality Accreditation (AHSSQA) Scheme. The NSQHS Standards and AHSSQA Scheme are designed to deliver a consistent level of safe and high-quality care across national health services in Australia.

The AHSSQA Scheme aims to provide national coordination of accreditation processes across Australian health service organisations. To achieve accreditation as part of the AHSSQA Scheme, health services are independently assessed against the NSQHS Standards.

QIP is approved as an accrediting agency under the AHSSQA Scheme to accredit against the NSQHS Standards.

The NSQHS Standards were developed to drive the implementation of safety and quality systems, and improvements to the quality of healthcare in Australia. The NSQHS Standards provide a mechanism to enable the systematic review of complex systems and a way of tracking changes in the safety and quality of patient care.

The NSQHS Standards provide a nationally consistent statement about the level of care consumers can expect from health service organisations across Australia.

Each of the areas and elements of the Standards, including indicators, aim to give ensure consumers of:


Protect the public from harm


Improve the quality of health service provision


Tests whether relevant systems are in place


Ensures minimum standard of safety & quality


Allows health services to achieve goals

The NSQHS Standards (second edition)

The second edition of the NSQHS Standards provide a mechanism to enable the systematic review of complex health service organisations’ systems and a way of tracking the quality and safety of patient care. They provide a nationally consistent statement about the level of care consumers can expect from health service organisations across Australia.

Accreditation against the NSQHS Standards (second edition) started from 1 January 2019.

The second edition addresses important gaps identified in the first edition, including mental health and cognitive impairment, health literacy, end-of-life care and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. The second edition aims to be easier to understand and implement, however the bar for assessments of health service organisations has been raised.

The second edition is clearer, with duplication reduced bycombining relevant standards and actions. The second edition has  eight standards and 148 actions, compared to the first edition’s ten standards and 256 actions.

What are the most significant changes?

The following are a snapshot summary of the most significant changes between the first and second edition of the NSQHS Standards and revisions to the AHSSQA Scheme, as directed by the Commission. These changes include:

  • Transitioning assessment schedules
  • Standardised assessment cycles— three-year assessment cycle and not for mid-cycle assessments
  • Revised assessment rating scale
  • Repeat assessments for organisations with a large number of ‘not met’ actions, and additional assessments for services where safety and quality data show there is under-performance
  • Recognising exemplar practice in health service organisations
  • Voluntary short notice assessments
  • Annual compliance attestation statement from health service organisation’s governing body to accreditation agency
  • Expanded oversight of accrediting agencies by the Commission
  • Structured, standardised assessment process, and
  • Reduced duplication and improved usability.

Standards topics

Helping you transition to the NSQHS Standards (second edition)

QIP is helping national Australian health services transition to the second edition of the NSQHS Standards. These videos give an overview of the streamlined eight standards.

1. Clinical Governance
2. Partnering with Consumers
3. Preventing & Controlling Healthcare-Associated Infection
4. Medication Safety
5. Comprehensive Care
6. Communicating for Safety
7. Blood Management
8. Recognising & Responding to Acute Deterioration

Who needs accreditation against the NSQHS Standards ?

QIP provides NSQHS Standards frameworks for a variety of allied and specialised health service organisations and providers across Australia. The healthcare services must be assessed and  accredited to the NSQHS Standards:

All public and private hospitals must be accredited against the NSQHS Standards

All licenced day procedure services must be accredited against the NSQHS Standards

All public dental services must be accredited against the NSQHS Standards

All New South Wales (NSW) cosmetic medical and surgical facilities

Healthcare organisations that would benefit from voluntary accreditation against the NSQHS to ensure their service(s) and their quality management systems are assessed and rated to a national quality standard or national quality framework include:

  • Private dental practices, (refer to our Private Dental Practices page)
  • Allied health services including audiology services, physiotherapy practices, podiatry practices, specialised health services,
  • Organisations seeking specific funding arrangements from state and territory government departments
  • Community health services, and
  • Transport services.

How QIP supports organisations

Dedicated and personalised support

QIP Client Liaison team - QIP has a team of professionally trained Client Liaison Officers on hand to answer any questions clients may have about accreditation. With expert knowledge of the Standards, evidence requirements and the self-assessment process, QIP’s Client Liaison Officers are dedicated to providing clients with on-going support throughout their accreditation cycle.

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QIP’s accreditation hub

The QIP accreditation hub is an online platform tailored to each client’s individual accreditation timelines and framework requirements.  It includes a personalised action plan, a resource library and a number of other features to support clients throughout their accreditation journey.

Access to AccreditationPro

QIP’s online self-assessment software, known as AccreditationPro, streamlines accreditation preparation by helping clients determine their organisation’s compliance with an applicable set of Standards.

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Access to online resources and education

QIP’s online Education and Resource Library, known as QbAY, provides clients with access to a range of practical, informative and customisable resources to support organisations in complying with the relevant industry Standards.

Regular news and e-newsletters

Stay up-to-date with industry and organisational news, helpful tips and your standards information with QIP communications including periodical e-newsletters advising of any changes to processes, systems, standards or evidence requirements are released.

Highly trained assessment teams

QIP’s Assessors are highly trained and qualified peer assessors who work across the Australian health, community and human services sectors. Our team will share their knowledge and support organisations through the accreditation assessment.

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Celebrating the achievement of accreditation

Achieving QIP accreditation takes dedication, team work and a commitment to continuous quality improvement. When organisations achieve their accredited, certificated or verified status, they are provided with their own 'Promotional Toolkit' filled with a number of materials to celebrate and promote this achievement. The QIP Accredited Symbol is one way consumers and local community can be reassured that an organisation has been recognised for their commitment to delivering a safe and quality-focused service.

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Become part of our online community

Join us on social media to celebrate organisation achievements made within the health, community and human services sectors and to be kept up-to-date with the latest industry news and events, including QIP and AGPAL updates.

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