About the clinical care standards

Clinical care standards can play an important role in delivering appropriate care and reducing unwarranted variation, as they  define the care people should expect to be offered or receive, regardless of where they are treated in Australia.


The Commission established the Clinical Care Standards program to support clinical experts and consumers develop clinical care standards on health conditions that would benefit from a national coordinated approach.

This is in recognition that:

  • Appropriateness of clinical care is a major focus in improving the quality of health care provision
  • A gap exists between what we know and what we do
  • Unwarranted variation is variation in care that is not explained by the clinical circumstances or personal choices of the patient.
  • Some reasons for unwarranted variation include:
    • Overuse of treatments or procedures that are not effective 
    • Underuse of care that we know can help
    • A lack of training or consistency in guidelines.

Development and consultation

Each clinical care standard is developed in collaboration with a topic working group of clinicians, researchers and consumers. The group use the most current evidence from guidelines, information about gaps between evidence and practice, their expertise and knowledge of the issues affecting the appropriate delivery of care, and consideration of issues that are important to consumers.

A public consultation process is conducted on each draft clinical care standard and associated documents before finalisation and publication.

Quality statements

Quality statements within the clinical care standards describe high priority areas for quality improvement. They are identified based on areas of current variation, information about what we know works in terms of treatments, procedures and processes, and what care should be offered to a patient.

Each clinical care standard:

  • Helps people to know what care to expect for a particular clinical condition, helps them make informed decisions about treatment in collaboration with their health professional
  • Provides guidance to health professionals so they can deliver quality care and have informed discussions about treatment options with their patients
  • Sets out the components of care that health services can use to guide practice and monitor improvement in their hospitals and other services where the clinical care standard is applicable.

Frequently asked questions

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