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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. The CQC regulate the care provided by the NHS, local authorities, private companies and voluntary organisations. The aim is to make sure better care is provided for everyone - in hospitals, care homes and people's own homes.

Essential standards of quality and safety

There are 16 principle essential standards of quality and safety. These are the standards everyone should be able to expect when they receive care.

1. Respecting and involving people who use services

This means you understand the care, treatment and support choices available to you. You can express your views, in so far as you are able to do so, and you are involved in making decisions about your care, treatment and support. You have your privacy, dignity and independence respected and your (or your carers’) views and experience are taken into account in the way in which the service is provided and delivered.

2. Consent to your care and treatment.

Where you are able, you give valid consent to the examination, care, treatment and support you receive. You understand and know how to change any decisions about your examination, care, treatment and support that has been previously agreed. You can be confident your human rights are respected and taken into account.

3. Care and welfare of people who use services

You experience effective, safe and appropriate care, treatment and support that meets your needs and protects your rights

4. Meeting nutritional needs

You are supported to have sufficient food and drink and a choice of food and drink to meet your diverse needs.

5. Cooperating with other providers

You receive safe and coordinated care, treatment and support where more than one provider is involved, or you are moved between providers.

6. Safeguarding people who use services from abuse

You are protected from abuse or the risk of abuse and your human rights are respected and upheld.

7. Cleanliness and infection control

You experience treatment, care and support in a clean environment, controlled against infection.

8. Management of medicines

You will have the medicines you are prescribed, at the times you need them, and in a safe way. Wherever possible you will have information about the medicines being prescribed made available to you or to others acting on your behalf.

9. Safety and suitability of premises

You are in safe, accessible surroundings that promote your well being.

10. Safety, availability and suitability of equipment

You, together with people who work in or visit the premises, are not at risk of harm from unsafe or unsuitable equipment (medical and non-medical equipment, furnishings or fittings). You benefit from equipment that is comfortable and meets your needs.

11. Requirements relating to workers

You are safe and your health and welfare needs are met by appropriate and competent staff with the right qualifications, skills and experience.

12. Staffing

You are safe and your health and welfare needs are met by sufficient numbers of appropriate staff.

13. Supporting workers

You are safe and your health and welfare needs are met by staff who are trained, well supervised, and receive the development opportunities they need to carry out their role and keep their skills up to date.

14. Assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision

You benefit from effective decisions and the management of risks to your health, welfare and safety.

15. Complaints

You or your nominated representative can be sure that your complaints and comments will be listened to and acted on by your provider. You know that you will not be discriminated against for making a complaint.

16. Records

You are confident that your personal records including medical records are accurate, fit for purpose, held securely and remain confidential. Other records required to be kept to protect your safety and well being are maintained and held securely where required.