Essentials of Safe Care

Creating the conditions for safe care for every person, within every setting, every time

The Essentials of Safe Care is a practical package of evidence-based guidance and support that enables Scotland’s health and social care system to deliver safe care.

The essential drivers of safe care 

Working in partnership with health and social care teams and a number of representative bodies across Scotland, the following essentials were identified as being central to supporting the safe delivery of care in any setting.

Essentials of Safe Care driver diagram

This interactive driver diagram outlines the key elements within each essential that can support achieving the overall aim of delivering safe care for every person, within every setting, every time.

Each essential provides a range of information and resources based on:

  • the best available evidence 
  • existing standards and guidelines, and
  • examples of current practice for services to consider as part of their own improvements.


Please note that once you have clicked to enter the interactive driver diagram, you will need to click again to select a driver.

Download the interactive driver diagram


Essentials of Safe Care Learning System

The Essentials of Safe Care Learning System will be a key element of our work and underpins all our activities. It aims to accelerate sharing of learning and improvement work through a range of engagement and learning opportunities. These will include:

  • the development of an Essentials of Safe Care network
  • a series of webinars
  • a website where case studies and resources will be available
  • a measurement framework, and
  • bespoke improvement support.

These resources have been developed to support you to implement the Essentials of Safe Care.

  • Glossary - This glossary contains helpful explanations of some of the improvement tools we have used.
  • Evaluation of Testing: Full Report - This report describes how these resources were tested and evaluated, with thanks to our colleagues from health and social care for their participation.
  • Readiness and Prioritisation Tool - This tool helps to understand strengths and gaps in your organisation and teams, and prioritise areas for improvement.
  • Measurement Framework - This document contains practical guidance to support you to measure the impact of implementing the Essentials of Safe Care.
  • Measurement Toolkit – Run charts are an excellent way to present your data, and this toolkit will enable you to generate them using your local data.
  • What the Essentials of Safe Care are and why they were developed
  • What the Essentials of Safe Care package includes and how to use it

Contact us

For more information, questions or comments please email