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The government's initial response to the Francis report

Minute-by-minute, we’re following Jeremy Hunt’s announcement to the government on plans to overhaul the NHS, in light of the recent Francis report

17.28pm - Boards of hospitals that breach the government’s proposed new statutory duty of candour could face criminal prosecution, the government has confirmed.

17.23pm - The Council of Deans of Health has said plans to allow student nurses to spend up to a year working as healthcare assistants could put patient safety at risk.

17.15pm - The Royal College of Nursing has described the government’s response to the Francis report as a series of “missed opportunities”.

17.12pm - Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has promised the public there will be “a single version of the truth” about hospital performance, collated by the chief inspector of hospitals.

17.08pm - A new code of conduct has been published for healthcare support workers, which promises to protect the public by promoting best practice.

17.00pm - Kathryn Godfrey says: ‘Does the government response support frontline nursing?’

16.00pm - Long-awaited national minimum training standards for healthcare support workers have been published today, as part of the government’s initial response to the Francis report.

15.50pm - @swayoung01 tweets: fantastic on the BBC. As always a great advocate for the Nursing Profession and the public (we) serve

15.46pm - Jenni Middleton speaks live on BBC news: “What happened at Mid Staffs is absolutely indefensible, but I’m not sure pointing the finger at nurse training is the right response. It suggests there’s a problem with student nurse selection, and we’re not selecting the right people, but I think we are.”

15.45pm - Nursing Times Editor, Jenni Middleton, speaks live on the BBC news: “I think one of the biggest problems with what’s been announced is that it’s reignited the ‘too posh to wash’ debate.”

15.34pm - Chris Hart, nurse consultant and principal lecturer at Kingston and St George University, London, says: “They’ve only just introduced degree only training and are immediately thinking about reforming that. It’s always been an option for healthcare assistants to train as nurses, so this is nothing new. There is no evidence that healthcare assistants make better qualified nurses than people coming in from the outside.”

15.31pm - The government has ignored Robert Francis QC’s call for a registered older person’s nurse, instead opting for a review of training on this area of care.

15.22pm - Lack of mandatory staffing levels ‘missed opportunity’, says Unison

15.16pm - Nursing Times Editor, Jenni Middleton, says:‘The government’s response has undermined the important role nurses play in patient care

14.59pm - @JennyMaines tweets: No they (students) shouldnt do a year as it will take real jobs from HCAs. Will the st nurses get paid or work for free or have to pay?

14.38pm - NHS Employers chief exec Dean Royles backs the government line on HCAs – perhaps unsurprisingly – saying: “The minimum standards and code of conduct for healthcare assistants will provide support to employers in ensuring effective training and support for this key staff group.

“Regulation of healthcare assistants would have been the wrong response to the wrong question. You can’t regulate for kindness and compassion but we can do more to test that people wanting to train in healthcare have the right values, and the right access to training and to good supervision.”

14.23pm - @nikkih2oh tweets: In reading their recommendations, it seems to me that the government have missed the point almost entirely#Francis

14.20pm - Cheryl Etches, chief nurse, The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Many people commence training for a healthcare profession only to find the reality of their clinical placements a shock and sometimes, sadly, decide healthcare isn’t the right choice for them. Potential healthcare workers of the future could benefit from exposure to the real healthcare environment before committing to a healthcare career and its associated training.”

14.17pm - Professor Ian Cumming OBE, chief executive of HEE, said: “By asking prospective students across a range of courses HEE funds to undertake up to a year of real work as a Healthcare Assistant we can start to ensure that the NHS recruits not just for skills and academic ability but also for values and behaviours that can be tested in a real healthcare environment before the NHS spends tens of thousands of pounds on their education.”

14.16pm - “Health Education England is welcoming the announcement by Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt MP that HEE should pilot a scheme whereby those who wish to study NHS funded nursing degrees should first spend time working as a healthcare assistant to assess their values and behaviours and to help them ensure they are making the right career choice.”

13:54pm - Twitter response: @mazp74 Hourly nursing rounds?!?! When will there be time to nurse???

13:53pm - Twitter response: @nursingtimesed: Exactly how is pouring hundreds more untrained staff into the wards going to improve care?

13:45pm - Twitter response: @graemeinlondon Sad day. As an HCA I would welcome reg of some sort. Some say it’s simply box ticking. But RCNs fear losing PIN number, why not HCAs?

13.30pm - Nursing Times summarises What are today’s key government recommendations following the Francis Report?

13.25pm - @SteveJFord reports: There will be no mandatory minimum staffing levels but there will be National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence tools on staffing levels. Local organisations will be expected to report staffing levels and the chief inspector of hospitals will examine them

13.20pm Nursing Times reports healthcare assistants will not face statutory regulation but they will be subject to national minimum training and a code of conduct, under government proposals responding to the Francis report

13.11pm - Nursing Times reports that the Nursing and Midwifery Council and other professional regulators will also be required “to tighten their procedures for breaches of professional standards”.

13.08pm - Nursing Times reports that hospitals and other healthcare providers, such as GP practices, will be subject to a statutory duty of candour

13:00pm - Francis response: Hunt announces measures targeting HCAs and students

12:58pm - @ShaunLintern tweets: NHS Commissioning Board will change its name to become NHS England.

12.54pm - @SarahLouHill tweets: No regulation of HCAs. Risk it would be “box-ticking” exercise, says Hunt.

12.46pm - @ShaunLintern tweets: Following the pilot of nurses working for a year as a HCA Gov will consider extending this to other professions including medics. #Francis

12.45pm - @ShaunLintern tweets: Hunt says need to be careful of creating a culture of fear and unintended consequences of an individual statutory duty of candour. #Francis

12:09pm - Twitter response: @Swedish85 1yr as HCA has potential however it would turn the role into a stepping stone for Nursing which is unfair on current HCA’s.

12:05pm - Twitter response: @Chris_Ranks I think this is a “quick win” because top down restructuring is hard to do.

11:50am - Twitter response: @nicclark83 It’s not necessarily a bad thing but the assumption we don’t do basic care is infuriating & insulting.

11:45am - Twitter response: @JoBonnici89 Prior HCA work was exactly what made me want to be a nurse.

11:41am - Twitter repsonse: @pinkiloz92 Are there enough HCA jobs available to allow this to happen?

11.39am - Elaine Maxwell proposes 10 reasons why student nurses shouldn’t spend a year as healthcare assistants

11.05am - Nursing Times asks: The big question: should student nurses spend one year as a healthcare assistant?

09:50am - Caring experience to be compulsory for new nurse recruits. Ministers are considering whether to require aspiring nurses to complete a year’s caring experience before they are accepted onto a degree course.

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