The Essence of Care benchmarks were designed to support quality improvement measures set out in a First Class Service (1998). Essence of Care benchmarking is a qualitative approach and involves the identification of patient-focused best practice in aspects of care crucial to the quality of the patient's experience.

In 2004/05 the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) in conjunction with NIPEC completed a project to implement Essence of Care benchmarks across care settings in Northern Ireland. There was an excellent level of engagement across the HPSS, nursing home and voluntary sector. A total of 54 projects were initiated and showcased in an abstract document and the whole project was evaluated. Click below to access the document.

In 2006 NIPEC undertook a review of both the progress of these initial 54 projects and the progress on the recommendations of the Evaluation Report in relation to organisational integration and mainstreaming benchmarking activity.

The two main findings from the Review were that, although there was a wealth of substantive improvement in care and patient experience achieved from the initial project, a low level of organisational mainstreaming was also indicated. NIPEC  made further recommendations which in the main refer to the need to better promote benchmarking activities and provide appropriate direction, support and infrastructure. The review document can be downloaded from below

Go to Essence of Care documents

Contact Information

Angela Reed
Senior Professional Officer
Tel: 0300 300 0066



Speakers at the Essence of Care Conference

Delegates at the Essence of Care Conference