The 15 Steps Challenge, originally developed in 2012 by the NHS, has been relaunched this year. The motivation behind it came from a regular visitor to hospital who said ‘I can tell what kind of care my daughter is going to get within 15 steps of walking on to every new ward.’

Why is the 15 Steps Challenge useful?

  • It is important to be aware what good quality care looks and feels like from a service-user’s perspective.
  • Staff, offered immersed in the environment, are less likely to pick up on things that need to be changed.
  • It can also be used to encourage non-clinical staff to participate in assessing the patient environment. This can contribute to a range of different perspectives on patient experience and can provide valuable operational information to planners.
  • Engaging staff in this way, to comment on their work enviroment, also builds confidence that the organisation is willing to ask them for their views.
  • It is a useful toolkit to prepare ward areas for imminent Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections.
  • It helps remind staff about paying attention to the patient environment and can temporarily disrupt automatic thinking and working practices.

NHS England has launched a suite of toolkits for commissioners, inpatient services, mental health services, community services, clinics and outpatients and children and young people’s services.


The 15 Steps Challenge: Quality from a patient’s perspective, 2017