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.
The standards apply to all healthcare support workers – including assistant practitioners – in England who report to a registered nurse or midwife.
They focus on 10 areas and define the minimum knowledge required by healthcare support workers irrespective of the setting in which they work or their precise role.
They set out what should be covered during a period of induction in the first weeks of employment as well as effective communication, duty of care, safeguarding and person centred care. Safety issues including moving and handling are also covered.
However, nutrition and hydration and infection prevention are referred to but continence and tissue viability –two major problems highlighted as issues at Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry report –are not singled out for attention.
The standards have been developed by the national skills councils Skills for Care and Skills for Health over the past 18 months.
The work was commissioned by the Department of Health back in November 2011, with a consultation held on the draft standards from May to July last year.
However, the DH held off publishing the final set of standards in order for them to coincide with its initial response to the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Public Inquiry report, which was published today.
Some in the profession have welcomed the development of minimum training standards for HCAs as a step in the right direction but for others they fall short of the goal of full regulation.
The 10 key areas are:
- The roles of the HCA
- Personal development
- Effective communication
- Equality, diversity and inclusion
- Duty of care
- Person-centred care and support
- Health and safety
- Handling information
- Infection prevention and control
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