Today the Cavendish report has set out key recommendations on how the role of healthcare assistants and social care support workers should change in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust Public Inquiry.
Camilla Cavendish, a journalist who has written extensively about health, was asked by the government to examine the role of HCAs and social care support workers in the wake of the Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire.
Her report makes seven key recommendations, including:
- Common training standards – all healthcare assistants should complete a certificate in ‘fundamental’ care before they can look after patients unsupervised
- Career progression – talented care workers will be able to progress into nursing and social care through the creation of a ‘Higher Certificate of Fundamental Care’. This will ensure they have a route to progress in their careers and an opportunity to use their vocational experience of working as healthcare assistant to enter the nursing profession
- New job title – HCAs who completed the certificate should be allowed to use the term ‘nursing assistant’ in a bid to reduce the number of current job titles held by support workers
- Caring experience – the Nursing and Midwifery Council should make caring experience a prerequisite to starting a nursing degree and review the contribution of vocational experience towards degrees
- Recruitment – directors of nursing should take back responsibility for the HCA workforce from human resources departments. Employers should also be supported to test the values, attitudes and aptitude of future staff for caring at the recruitment stage
- Quality assurance – Health Education England, with Skills for Health and Skills for Care, should develop proposals for a rigorous system of quality assurance for training and qualifications, which links to funding outcomes, so that money is not wasted on ineffective courses
- Poor performance – the legal processes for challenging poor performance should be reviewed so that employers can be more effective in identifying and removing any unsatisfactory staff