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CQC Equality and Diversity Standards

CQC standards are constantly changing. Here are some tips that can help health care providers to keep on top of the beaurocracy.

Ensuring equality and diversity should be a key part of the service provided by all health and social care organisations that the CQC investigate. The aim of the CQC is to help create a culture of care that genuinely puts individuals at the heart of health and social care services, that care that is centred on people's needs and protects their rights.

As a health and social care provider, the CQC will be looking to see equality and diversity weaved through the essential standards of quality and safety with which care providers must comply in order to be registered.

The Equality Act 2008 protects people from unfavourable treatment because of the following characteristics, some of which apply to everyone while others apply to groups of people:

- Age
- Disability
- Gender re-assignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Race including national identity and ethnicity
- Religion or belief
- Sex (that is, is someone female or male)
- Sexual orientation

The CQC's values, and those of the health and social care providers that they assess, should place fairness and equality firmly at the centre of what they do. When assessed by the CQC, an organisation will need to demonstrate that these characteristics have been considered when meeting all of the essential standards.

Outcomes 1 to 3 focus on the involvement of a patient in their own care and the information they receive to make informed decisions about their care. The CQC will want health and social care providers to demonstrate support for those using the service so that they may understand the choices they make. It is important to allow the patient and their families to make an informed decision, whether that is by providing documentation in a range of languages that can be accessed by patients of a different race or ethnicity, supporting those with communication or cognitive impairments, or through the staff demonstrating their respect for their patients.

In order to demonstrate compliance with the CQC equality and diversity standards, health and social care providers must meet outcomes 4 to 6; personalised care, treatment and support. The CQC is passionate that both NHS and private organisations do not provide a "one size fits all" service, but one that is tailored to a patient's needs and gives everyone an equal standard of care.  In order to meet these outcomes, the CQC will be looking to see plans for care that take into account all of the protected characteristics listed above.  It is also important that the service provided is accessible to all and flexibility can be seen in a patient's care plan; perhaps with the meals they are provided, or their ability to worship as they wish.

Outcomes 7 to 11 relate to safeguarding and safety within an organisation. This includes abuse. As a health and social care provider, it is important to have safeguarding procedures in place which maximise people's human rights, both for patients or members of staff. Whether providing medicine, helping a patient with cleanliness or using equipment, it is important to provide an environment where dignity and independence is upheld for all those using the service.

Members of staff will reflect the ethos of an organisation in the way they conduct themselves and how they support patients. Outcomes 12 to 14 convey the suitability of staffing. In order to provide a service that advocates equality and diversity, an organisation must employ staff with the same ideals. To meet these standards, staff must support the diverse needs of patients, upholding their rights. This could involve good communication with those using the service or ensuring that a preferred gender of staff is assigned to a patient to complete personal care tasks.

Just like those members of staff working directly with the patients, those in a management role must ensure equality and diversity run through the organisation they manage. To meet outcomes 15 to 21; quality and management, the health and social care provider must ensure quality in the service they provide and that the same standard of care is available to all. Equality and diversity should be reflected in the organisation's records keeping, including a complaints policy, acting on a complaint to improve the service and avoiding judgmental or discriminatory language in records.

Finally, just as the suitability of staff is essential to demonstrate compliance with the CQC equality and diversity standards, the suitability of management, as outlined in outcomes 22 to 28, has an important role of ensuring these standards are met. Managers must have up to date skills and knowledge with regards to human rights, equality and diversity so that they can incorporate the legislation throughout their organisation.

The traditional service-led approach has often meant that people who face barriers to equality, often have their needs met less well in a service- led approach because flexibility and diversity is limited. As a health and social care provider, it is essential to demonstrate equality and diversity in all areas of your organisation and the service it provides. This means starting with the person as an individual and putting them at the centre of the decisions about their care and needsBusiness Management Articles, so that they are supported to live their lives.

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