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Moves to regulate assistants mooted in Parliament


Hope is growing that the Health Bill can be amended to ensure healthcare assistants are regulated, despite government resistance to such a move.

Campaigning bodies, including the Royal College of Nursing, believe public and parliamentary opinion is moving in favour of HCA regulation, following the outcry over care standards at the Winterbourne View care home in Bristol where BBC Panorama exposed the abuse of patients - much of it apparently perpetrated by unqualified support staff.

The recent government document setting out changes to the Health Bill made no reference to HCA regulation, despite the panel of experts assembled to recommend changes to the bill calling for a review of policy on the issue (news, page 4, 21 June).

However, one peer told Nursing Times that a number of Lords saw the regulation of HCAs as a priority and were likely to table or support amendments to the bill accordingly.

“I’m absolutely committed to assisting in any way that I can to ensure that support workers are regulated in some way,” the peer said.

RCN head of policy development Howard Catton said the college had been lobbying MPs and peers on the long-standing issue of whether HCAs should be regulated and, if so, how to go about it. He said: “There’s been growing recognition over the past few months that the regulation of HCAs is a very serious issue.”


Readers' comments (4)

  • HCA regulation is absolutely needed. It needs to be a separate body, not the NMC that does it, but it is needed.

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  • these members of staff are looking after vulnerable people it i important that not only are they regulated but they are also given the essential traing to do their jobs.

    at present they can be working in a shop or factory one day and the next caring for acutely unwell patients. It all needs looking at and we need tighter control and guidelines as to who can do the role and what is expected of them.

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  • re: mike 28-june-2011 3:59
    why not the NMC HCA's have to abide by their policys,terms,etc anyway who would you suggest?
    ANON 28/6/11 4:38
    yes you have got it about right there!

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  • Anonymous | 28-Jun-2011 4:38 pm

    Yes I agree the same goes for an RN who may be struck off the register and begin work as an HCA. If people would actually listen AND hear that the Healthcare Assistants WANT to be registered/regulated for the safety of patients. These members of staff where I am employed are trained to a very high standard, doing more and more clinical and bedside roles of an RN i.e. cannulations, taking bloods, changing enteral feeds, ECG's, catheterisations, manual BP's, evaluations. Only duties they dont do are IV's and drug rounds. Not all are useless skivvies, majority are educated human beings.

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