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From the CQC, commandments that don’t command

[10 July 2013] The embattled Care Quality Commission has published a ‘commandments of care’ document to guide doctors and nurses in their treatment of patients. The eight rules will be displayed in wards and GPs’ surgeries as minimum standards. CQC chairman David Prior told The Times (17 June): ‘For patients and their families, these fundamental standards will be an unambiguous baseline: if they see or receive care that falls below that line, they should report it at once.’

Perhaps the most shocking thing about the 'commandments' is that they have to be uttered at all, as most of them are – or ought to be – statements of the bleedin’ obvious to any carers worth the name. And although the statements appear to be written from the patients’ viewpoint, none of them states a doer or agent. Unlike the biblical ten commandments (eg, ‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife’) all are written in the impersonal passive, ascribing no actions to anyone. This means they are not, in fact, commandments at all.

Here they are, in full:

  • I will be cared for in a clean environment
  • I will be protected from abuse and discrimination
  • I will be protected from harm during my care and treatment
  • I will be given pain relief or other prescribed medication when I need it
  • When I am discharged, my ongoing care will have been organised properly first
  • I will be helped to use the toilet and to wash when I need it
  • I will be given enough food and drink and helped to eat and drink if I need it

I will be the one to decide whether or not to give consent – or if I lack the capacity to do so, then legal safeguards will be upheld

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