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Majority of HCAs feel undervalued


HCAs should get great respect from other health professionals, according to the union Unison.

It recently carried out a survey of its HCA members, discovering 62% had considered leaving the NHS in the last year, mainly due to inadequate pay.

The survey also found that 45% of respondents felt ‘poorly’ or ‘very poorly’ valued, while only 11% felt ‘highly valued’.

Additionally, the survey revealed that 80% wanted their role to be regulated and 70% of younger HCA’s were keen to have nurse training. However, the union fears that the NMC’s review of pre-registration training, which looks set to recommend that nursing becomes a degree-only profession, may cut-off access to nurse training for HCA’s.

Announcing the results at a major HCA conference in London today, Gail Adams, Unison head of nursing, said: ‘The NHS is all about caring for people and that must include its own staff. HCAs want just a little respect. These are tomorrows’ healthcare professionals – value them now, respect their role, or lose them later. It is deeply worrying that, at a time of immense change in the NHS, such a high proportion of essential staff feel their job is just not valued.

‘This is not just about pay, though that is important, some of it is as simple as being thanked at the end of a shift or a difficult case,’ she added.


Readers' comments (7)

  • Of course HCAs should have access to nurse training. The possession of a degree does not necessarily make a better nurse, only more of an academic. The NHS needs people who are prepared to care. The vital role of the EN(G) was undervalued too.

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  • Many of "today's " nurses feel that basic care is not their "role". Surely ensuring that your patient is kept clean and comfortable is extremely important and this should not just be delegated to HCA'S. A good nurse would feel a pride in the fact that she has aided the basic requirement of the individual.

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  • You shouldn't need a degree to be a nurse. Many of the best nurses I know do not have one.
    A degree only profession is completely the wrong way to go, it will effectively exclude a great many people who would make excellent and capable nurses.
    By the way, I do have a degree.

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  • HCAs are undervalued, in the NHS the next step should be nursing training, but unfortunately HCAs are passed by and not encouraged or not offered the chance to become a nurse, 10 yrs as a HCA and you are not given the opportunity to gain any nursing training it is rediculous.

    I am thinking of changing my career, but it wont be nursing,

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  • I have been a HCA for 15 years, I am now called a support worker which I hate my job is 85% portering now and I feel my role is now devalued. Never mind a degree I am only JUST doing my NVQ 2 after years of asking to do it .

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  • i don't think you need a degree to be a nurse, but i think in the ever-changing role of a nurse, a degree will be essential to bring those leadership and management skills required to pass the degree practice assessment

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  • I feel that HCAs will always feel undervalued until we are given the opportunity to progress. By this I mean be able to climb the bands through the knowledge and skills which we have gained throughout our time served within the NHS.
    Compare us to say a building site manager. YOu may have one who got a degree, or another that got an apprenticeship as a joiner and worked his way up to site manager.
    Both getting where they wanted to go in two completely different ways. one the academic route the other hands on.
    Doesnt experience count for anything.
    The NHS has some fantastic HCAs with a lot more to give. Give us some support and encouragement. Most of us are not in this job for the money we just want recognition and encouragement for the work we do.

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