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Cameron gives lukewarm response on HCA regulation


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.


Readers' comments (30)

  • What would you expect from that jerk, all talk and no action, promises everything but delivers nothing.

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  • He has only had experience in PR before becoming an MP and boy, does it show.

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  • Susan Markham

    At last, vindication for what I have been saying for years. As much as HCAs and APs would love to call themselves “Nurses” (with a capital N) because they can take blood etc etc... the Francis report has finally named one of the many “elephants” standing in the room.

    If you are not regulated by a professional body that is internationally recognized – then you do not have the right to call yourself “Nurse!”

    Do a nationally recognized, standardized and regulated training, pass the exam, become registered with a professional regulatory body that is internationally recognized, pay an annual fee and THEN you can claim to be a Nurse (with a capital N!)

    If you cannot, or don't want to do this, then claiming to be a Nurse merely makes you part of the problem - which is the conspiracy to devalue the role of the Registered Nurse... as witnessed by the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust attempt at obfuscation by including assistant practitioners in its skill mix ratio figures.

    In reality I don't hold out much hope of many of the recommendations of this report being implemented... it simply goes against the government's hidden agenda of privatizing the NHS. It will be watered down and a few token gestures will be made but eventually I foresee that Nurses will end up becoming the scapegoats.

    BUT... I hope they nail that bastard scheme at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust and fire the incompetents who devised the damn thing in the first place!

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  • A nurse is somebody who is trained to take care of the sick or the disabled. the dictionary definitions do not say a qualification has to be held nor does it stipulate the standard or length of training required so theoretically anybody, even after a few hours training who is fulfilling such a role can call themselves a nurse.

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  • Tinkerbell

    i am hoping there will be criminal proceedings and these managers who put money before lives will be able to do some reflective practice from their prison cells.

    I am doubtful this will happen as the NHS is soon to become a profit driven enterprise.

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  • I am associate practitioner, I am also doing a foundation degree that will take me two years to complete. I did not have to do this degree to become an associate practitioner I choose to it. I know it want make me a Nurse with a capital N but I work just as hard if not harder than some Nurses with a capital N. I know when to call for help, how to get help,if i need it and what to do. I know my limits on what i can and cant do even though i know that i am capable of doing more. I also clean up the sh.. That some Nurses with a capital N want do. But as someone said that Still don't make me a Nurse with a capital N maybe a nurse with a small n then.

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  • When we look back through the years it appears rather obvious that a nurse 'Nurses' to heal the sick and quoting the NHS website on Nursing "To aid those perform tasks/actions they would undertake themselves but are no longer able too" not the actual quote but close, personally as an HCA I call myself a Nurse, actually I am about to go to university to study my degree. I think personally it all boils down the to the individual nurse in question, my cousins are nurses' themselves and they all 'muck in' shall we say with the jobs most nurses run a mile from, I think both are nurses, but HCA is not really a fitting name anymore, maybe Nurse Practitioner (NP) would be kinder than a derogatory Health Care Assistant.

    back to a view on the actual article in relation to regulation, I agree, HCA's should be regulated, when in contact with highly important information the only screening an HCA has are the interview(s) and CRB's

    and the above comment (the dig with the capital N for nurse thing) awesome, well done made me laugh.

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  • Nurse practitioner's are registered nurses with extra training, be it a masters degree or other training or qualification. Health care assistants do not have the knowledge or experience to warrant being called a nurse practitioner, or the accountability either. A lot of registered nurses, myself included do clean up s--t and vomit etc, and do not run away from it like some people posting here are saying.

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  • As with all jobs some are good at what they do some are not as good. I take great pride in the way I give care to the sick. I might not be a trained Nurse but I am working hard to try to achieve this foundation degree, I work full time and study full time. And I do think that all APs should be made to do this foundation degree, I want get paid any more for doing this. The only thing a AP can't do that, Trained nurse can is give drugs IV. All we are our cheep Nurses so why do so many Nurses not like APs. I understand that you have trained hard to become a trained Nurse, but without us you would not be able to do your job as good as some of you do.Not all APs and HCA think they are Trained Nurses.

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  • I think anons 7.49 and 9.38 are glad that there are no qualifications needed to become a HCA, or AP, certainly not in written English.
    Anon 6.59 what is the dictionary definition of an Associate Practitioner?
    I may carry a pair of scissors in my pocket that can cut hair, does that make me a hairdresser? Hmmm?

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