The Care and Quality Commission (CQC) has just published a new paper entitled What Standards to expect from the regulation of your NHS Hospital: An introduction to important changes to the regulation of NHS Hospitals.

It is a patient guide for those receiving hospital treatment and sets out:  

  • the important changes to the way in which NHS hospitals are regulated;  
  • a summary of the new essential standards of care that NHS hospitals must keep to and how these standards are monitored; and  
  • the standards of care patients can expect when they use NHS hospital services.

What patients can expect from NHS hospitals

NHS hospitals are now legally responsible for making sure they meet new essential standards of quality and safety when delivering patient care. Broadly these essential standards go to the heart of the Government’s objective of providing safe patient centred care.

The guide confirms that patients can expect:  

  • to be involved and told what’s happening at every stage of their care. They will be involved in discussions about their care and treatment. Their privacy, dignity and independence respected and consent obtained for each procedure.  
  • expect care, treatment and support which meets their need. Their personal needs will be assessed to ensure care is safe and supports their rights. Where more than one provider is involved there will be a co-ordinated flow between different services.  
  • to be safe and protected from the risk of abuse. They will be treated in a clean environment which is protected from infection and both safe and accessible to facilitate recovery. Medicines will be administered safely with suitable equipment.  
  • to be cared for by qualified staff. They will be treated by adequate numbers of staff who will be well managed and have the chance to develop and manage their skills.  
  • hospitals to constantly check the quality of its services to ensure patient safety.  
  • their personal records to be accurate and kept securely.  
  • their complaints will be acted upon properly.

The new approach of the CQC

In order to meet these new essential services the CQC has remodelled its delivery of regulatory functions and will:

  • look at the care the patients are getting rather than at systems and processes;  
  • listen to what patients have to say;  
  • check how NHS hospitals are meeting essential standards now rather than in the past;  
  • put into practice their wide range of powers to target failing hospitals; and  
  • update their website when there are changes to report about checks, improvements or concerns.