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The Care Quality Commission checks whether hospitals, care homes and care services are meeting government standards. Visit our website at www.cqc.org.uk.

The essential standards

The essential standards of quality and safety are central to our work in regulating health and adult social care. Each of the standards has an associated outcome that we expect all people who use services to experience as a result of the care they receive.

The standards relate to the 28 regulations contained in the legislation governing our work. When we check providers' compliance with the essential standards, we focus on one or more of the 16 that most directly relate to the quality and safety of care. Providers must have evidence that they meet these outcomes.

These 16 standards are outlined below.

Outcome 1: Respecting and involving people who use services
People should be treated with respect, involved in discussions about their care and treatment and able to influence how the service is run.
Outcome 2: Consent to care and treatment
Before people are given any examination, care, treatment or support, they should be asked if they agree to it.
Outcome 4: Care and welfare of people who use services
People should get safe and appropriate care that meets their needs and supports their rights.
Outcome 5: Meeting nutritional needs
Food and drink should meet people’s individual dietary needs.
Outcome 6: Cooperating with other providers
People should get safe and coordinated care when they move between different services.
Outcome 7: Safeguarding people who use services from abuse
People should be protected from abuse and staff should respect their human rights.
Outcome 8: Cleanliness and infection control
People should be cared for in a clean environment and protected from the risk of infection.
Outcome 9: Management of medicines
People should be given the medicines they need when they need them, and in a safe way.
Outcome 10: Safety and suitability of premises
People should be cared for in safe and accessible surroundings that support their health and welfare.
Outcome 11: Safety, availability and suitability of equipment
People should be safe from harm from unsafe or unsuitable equipment.
Outcome 12: Requirements relating to workers
People should be cared for by staff who are properly qualified and able to do their job.
Outcome 13: Staffing
There should be enough members of staff to keep people safe and meet their health and welfare needs.
Outcome 14: Supporting workers
Staff should be properly trained and supervised, and have the chance to develop and improve their skills.
Outcome 16: Assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision
The service should have quality checking systems to manage risks and assure the health, welfare and safety of people who receive care.
Outcome 17: Complaints
People should have their complaints listened to and acted on properly.
Outcome 21: Records
People’s personal records, including medical records, should be accurate and kept safe and confidential.

The other 12 regulations relate more to the routine day-to-day management of a service. The information we receive on these helps us to check that the service is being run responsibly. We will make checks where concerns are raised over these standards.

Read more about the other 12 standards