A new set of benchmarks to help nurses improve care in GP practices and hospitals have been unveiled the Chief Nursing Officer.
Christine Beasley said the Essence of Care series will help people have confidence that the care environment meets individual patient's needs.
The new benchmarks focus on ease of access, how well maintained the practice is, cleanliness and tidiness, personal space, and precautions for controlling infection.
Ms Beasley said: "The Essence of Care programme is unique in that it combines the elements that are important to patients with actions that professionals can take to make real improvements in the environment they create for patients.
"The overall toolkit helps share best practice among the entire nursing team and maintain high standards."
The Essence of Care drive was launched in February 2001 and provides a toolkit to help practitioners take a structured approach to sharing and comparing practice, enabling them to identify the best measures and to develop action plans to remedy poor practice.
The 10 areas covered are communication, continence, hygiene, nutrition, pressure ulcers, privacy and dignity, record-keeping, safety, self-care and promoting health.