Overview of the Clinical Care Standards

Clinical Care Standards can play an important role in delivering appropriate care and reducing unwarranted variation, as they identify and 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 between what we know and what we do exists
  • Unwarranted variation is variation in care that is not explained by the clinical circumstances or personal choices of the patient.
  • Unwarranted variation in care occurs in all countries when there is
    • Overuse of treatments or procedures that do not help people get better
    • Underuse of care that we know can help
    • Misuse (or errors) of doing something incorrectly and harming people.

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 and standards, 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 also 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