Prime minister David Cameron has described the regulation of healthcare assistants as “complicated”, hinting that it unlikely to be implemented by the government, despite being one of the 290 proposals in the Francis report.
Mr Cameron reacted lukewarmly to the suggestion of mandatory regulation of HCAs today when answering a question from an MP following his statement to the Commons on the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust Public Inquiry report.
Recommendation number 209 of the inquiry report, published earlier today, advises that a registration system should be created for healthcare support workers in private or NHS organisations, working in the community, for agencies or as independent agents, to bring them in line with doctors and nurses.
Mr Francis has also recommended a common set of national standards for the education and training of this particular staff group.
The recommendation was endorsed by unions, including Unison and the Royal College of Nursing, who have been long-term supporters of the idea of HCA regulation.
However, the government has previously been reluctant to introduce it, favouring instead minimum training standards and a code of conduct.
Mr Cameron appeared to be continuing to back this approach when asked about HCA regulation by Sarah Wollaston, a former GP and now Conservative MP for Totnes.
Mr Cameron said: “The government has said that the idea of proper training standards is something that does need to be looked at and I agree with that.”
“The issue of registration is more complicated, possibly more bureaucratic. We’ll certainly look at it, but I think that needs close examination,” he said.