The need for new NHS jobs to be created will come under focus once again following the announcement of new legislation aimed at raising the standard of NHS care.
New fundamental standards of care that all health and social care providers will be required to meet have been outlined by the Department of Health this month, with the aim of implementing them from April 2015 onwards.
Intended to help improve the quality of care and ensure greater transparency and accountability within the NHS, the laws will define basic standards of safety and quality that should always be met, with criminal penalties for failing to adhere to some of them.
Key standards will include the need for treatment to be appropriate for individual users' needs and preferences, and for service users to be treated with dignity and respect, with care to be offered safely and with consent in all cases.
Meanwhile, it will become a basic requirement for sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced staff to be deployed at all times, while the maintenance of premises and equipment will be overseen more rigorously.
Efforts will be made to ensure complaints are appropriately investigated and appropriate action taken in response, in line with the new legal duty of candour. Regulators will also do more to ensure all NHS staff have the right character, qualifications, skills and experience to perform the work for which they are employed.
These standards will be used as part of the Care Quality Commission's regulation and inspection of care providers from April 2015 onwards.
A government statement said: "These measures were recommended by the Francis Inquiry report and thousands of people responded to a series of consultations about their introduction.
"Most of those who responded to the consultations were in favour of the measures and the responses were used to improve the development of the regulations."
This comes as part of the government's wider response to the Francis Inquiry, which has already led to changes aimed at offering more integrated care and driving up staffing levels.
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