Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Willis: Give patients access to HCA training records


Patients and relatives should be allowed to check the training records of healthcare assistants in a bid to make employers take more responsibility, an influential member of the House of Lords has said.

Lord Willis of Knaresborough chaired a review of nurse education commissioned by the Royal College of Nursing last year. In a keynote address at the RCN congress this morning he called on the health secretary to act now to make it compulsory for all healthcare providers to keep a register of the training their HCAs had received.

Lord Willis said this could act as a starting point for full registration of HCAs, which would be difficult if not impossible to do without agreed training standards anyway.

 “I understand that reluctance [to register HCAs] at a time of restricted budgets. I call on the secretary of state today to make it a mandatory requirement to register the training staff have received and to make it available for other bodies to see including the Care Quality Commission and patients and relatives,” he said.

Lord Willis told Nursing Times this would help make employers act responsibly.

“If in fact [the employer] is using staff on the frontline who have no training or inappropriate training that would be there… and that would be very powerful.”

Lord Willis also criticised the government’s plan to make aspiring nurses work as HCAs for a year to gain entry onto a funded nursing course, pointing out neither his own review nor the Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry report had recommended it.

He said: “The idea that students choose to enter this profession to become complacent in the ‘normalisation of cruelty’ is as offensive as it is wrong.

“For most students the experience of working in a caring capacity is a fundamental requirement and experience as a HCA may be valuable. But only where it’s accompanied by high quality training and supervision and so far not a word has accompanied the [government’s] proposals.”

The Liberal Democrat peer also criticised the use of psychometric tests to recruit new nurses citing the lack of evidence such testing could identify whether an individual would make a caring nurse. Following the publication of the Francis report in to Mid Staffordshire in February Health Education England announced plans to test all potential nursing students for their values using an “aptitude test”. It is understood this is likely to include some form of psychometric testing.

Asked whether he agreed with Robert Francis QC’s recommendations on education of nurses Lord Willis said there was “nothing fundamentally wrong” with them but “wished” Mr Francis had spent more time looking at the practical elements of nurse education, such as mentoring.

“That’s the bit that really needs to be pulled up by its boot straps,” he said. “To have people at the end of a twelve hour shift sitting in a corner to observe a student or sign off their competencies can’t be right.”

He called for mentoring to be seen as a “major career development, not just an add-on” and for more recognition that not all nurses were suitable to be mentors.

He also criticised the sheer number of recommendations in the Francis report.

“The idea we are going to implement 290 recommendations is farcical,” he said.


Readers' comments (11)

  • DH Agent - as if ! | 26-Apr-2013 3:49 pm

    well it looks as though process oriented care is a step in the direction towards remote care as described by a commentator following the Morecombe Bay article - very economical when the IT is working properly and not losing and confusing patient data. Chatting with your cheery remote doctor and nurse will be just like American breakfast television over cardboard cornflakes, prunes and orange juice!

    You don't like process orientated care and I am sure not many hc professionals like being forced to deliver it. It is even more poignant and repugnant when you find yourself on the receiving end of it as I did last weekend. The procedure carried out by the doctor was obviously to him just a process which he executed to perfection but any sort of discussion and reassurance surrounding it was virtually absent leaving behind a very frightened and possibly unnecessarily worried patient!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Show 1020results per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.