Peers are pushing for changes to legislation that would make mandatory training and regulation of healthcare assistants law.
In a series of proposed amendments to the government’s Care Bill legislation – currently on its way through the Lords – members of the upper house yesterday called for new legislation to bring into force new standards for HCAs.
The four members of the Lords put forward a series of amendments similar to recommendations in the recent independent Cavendish Review of HCAs, which was commissioned by the governement.
The amendment calls for the new quango Health Education England to develop mandatory training and certification for HCAs, which would be split into basic and advanced levels with the curriculum set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
The changes demand all employers be responsible for making sure health and social care support workers are trained and that they keep a register of such staff. They also suggest making it a criminal offence for a trust to employ an HCA who does not hold the required certificates.
The peers behind the amendment include Liberal Democrat Lord Willis of Knaresborough, who last year published the findings of a review for the Royal College of Nursing on nursing education, which backed HCA regulation.
The others are former nurse and cross-bench peer Baroness Emerton and Labour peers Lord Patel and Lord Warner.
The proposed amendment must be approved by the government for it to become law.
Fellow Labour peers Lord Hunt and Baroness Wheeler have also proposed a system of regulation for HCAs and called for the Care Quality Commission to be made to take into account guidance on staffing and skill mix when it inspects hospitals.
The government has already said it wants to see mandatory training of HCAs, but has consistently opposed the idea of regulation.
The Royal College of Nursing and Union have been long term supporters of HCA regulation.
It was recommended by the Prime Minister’s Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery, which was set up under Gordon Brown, as well as the Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust in February.