Our Quality and Safety Standards

At Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, the quality and safety of your care are our highest priorities. There are national and local standards, policies and procedures to ensure you have the best possible outcomes and experience.

We adhere to the NHS Constitution for our standards and waiting times. We are inspected and regulated by national organisations who ensure we provide services to expected levels and meet our commitments within the National Health Service. We also take very seriously the feedback we get from patients and visitors and respond to concerns when they arise.

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Parity of Esteem

Parity of esteem means ‘to achieve equality between physical and mental health services provided to people.’ Within the NHS, this means that patients should be able to access services which treat both mental and physical health conditions equally and to the same standard.

'Parity of esteem' is defined as 'valuing mental health equally with physical health', which would result in all patients benefitting from: 

  • equal access to the most effective and safest care and treatment
  • equal efforts to improve the quality of care
  • the allocation of time, effort and resources on a basis commensurate with need
  • equal status within healthcare education and practice
  • equally high aspirations for service users
  • equal status in the measurement of health outcomes

Why is this important?

Apart from the obvious point that any illness should be alleviated where possible, mental illness reduces life expectancy - it has a similar effect on life-expectancy to smoking and a greater effect than obesity.
Mental ill health is also associated with increased chances of physical illness, increasing the risks of the person having conditions such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes or respiratory disease. Likewise, poor physical health increases the risk of mental illness.

  • Children experiencing a serious or chronic illness are also twice as likely to develop emotional disorders
  • 78% of mental health service users accessed hospital services compared with 48% of non-mental health service users
  • 54% of mental health service users arriving at A&E came by ambulance or helicopter compared to 26% of non-mental health service users. A higher proportion of these patients were admitted and they stayed in hospital around 30% longer
  • 71% of those admitted were classified as an emergency compared with 40% of non-mental health service users

(World Health Organisation, 2017) 

What does parity mean to you?

You can let us know by tagging us on Twitter @WorcsHealthcare and including the hashtag #clarityonparity on your Tweet. The Trust is keen to hear from patients who have experienced good practice.