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New code of conduct for HCAs

A new code of conduct has been published for healthcare support workers, which promises to protect the public by promoting best practice.

The long-awaited code includes seven standards of “conduct, behaviour and attitudes”, which HCAs should abide by.

They apply to all healthcare support works, including assistant practitioners, in England who reports to a registered nurse or midwife. 

The code aims to ensure patients are treated with dignity, respect and compassion at all times, and makes clear that HCAs have a responsibility to ensure that their conduct does not fall below these standards.

The skills council Skills for Health was originally commissioned by the Department of Health to draw up the code in November 2011.

It was announced today – along with a set of minimum training standards – to coincide with publication today of the government’s initial response to the Francis report, which was published last month and called for HCA regulation.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said a newly-created post of chief inspector of hospitals would ensure “unsuitable” HCAs are barred from working in hospitals under the Home Office’s barring regime.

In addition, he said the chief inspector had been instructed to ensure that hospitals were “properly recruiting, training and supporting healthcare assistants”, drawing on forthcoming recommendations from the new review into HCA training by Camilla Cavendish.

Publishing the code, Skills for Health chief executive John Rogers said: “The code should give the public, and people who use health and social care services confidence that these support workers will provide safe and compassionate care of a high standard.”

The code standards are:

  1. Be accountable by making sure you can answer for your actions or omissions.
  2. Promote and uphold the privacy, dignity, rights, health and wellbeing of people who use health and care services and their carers at all times.
  3. Work in collaboration with your colleagues to ensure the delivery of high quality, safe and compassionate healthcare, care and support.
  4. Communicate in an open, and effective way to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of people who use health and care services and their carers.
  5. Respect a person’s right to confidentiality.
  6. Strive to improve the quality of healthcare, care and support through continuing professional development.
  7. Uphold and promote equality, diversity and inclusion.

Sign our Speak Out Safely petition to support a transparent and open NHS. We are calling on the government to implement recommendations from the Francis report that will increase protection for staff who raise concerns about patient care.

Readers' comments (4)

  • So nice to see you using a UNISON photo of some of our HCA members. Indeed two of them are here now talking to Camilla about the reality of working as HCAs today.

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  • i wish i was a fly on the wall and could give a bit of input!!!!!!!!!

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  • I am a trainee hca in theatre and I am hoping for registration for hca to not only protect the public but also hca's, and I also think service assistant's should have training for emergency and crash not medical but more of a what to do in the situation after they phoned for a crash team.

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  • how is this code going to be enforced?

    there should also be adequate professional training and a code for all those employees working in reception areas of any health service including GP surgeries if this is not already the case. this should not just be administrative but also on specialised interpersonal relationships when dealing with patients.

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