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Warning against proposed banding level of senior HCA role


The introduction of a proposed new senior health care assistant role could “potentially undermine” those already employed as band 4 assistant practitioners, Unison has claimed.

The recommendation – made by a major education and training review last week – is designed to bridge the gap between this part of the workforce and registered nurses.

But the union said the further suggestion to bring in this new role at Agenda for Change band 3 could encourage employers to “scrap” band 4 posts.

It claimed the Shape of Caring Review had pre-judged the level and pay band of the new role on cost grounds and could mean existing staff employed at the band above this are penalised.

“Any message that encourages employers to scrap band 4 posts on cost grounds could be very damaging and counter-productive”

Christina McAnea

A “proper assessment” of the scope and potential of the new role, and how it would operate in different healthcare settings is required before any decision is made on what pay band it could sit within, said the union.

“The review appears to pre-judge the level and pay band of the new role on cost grounds, potentially undermining the good practice already developed by many employers around band 4 assistant practitioners,” said Unison head of health Christina McAnea.


Christina McAnea

“Any message that encourages employers to scrap band 4 posts on cost grounds could be very damaging and counter-productive,” she said.

Ms McAnea added: “Many health care assistants are desperate to gain new skills and progress in their careers. The principle of a defined role between HCAs and registered nurses is an attractive one, especially if it delivers a recognised qualification and career structure in its own right, and allows those that want to take nursing qualifications to do so.

“Unfortunately the deployment and development of HCAs has been haphazard for too long.”

Despite this warning, the union did welcome the review’s focus on prioritising education and training for nursing staff.

The Shape of Caring Review was commissioned by national workforce planning body Health Education England last May to improve future pre-registration and post-registration nurse education and training in England.

It was chaired by Lord Willis of Knaresborough, who made 34 recommendations in total.


Readers' comments (16)

  • As a previous HCA for almost 20yrs at all levels and wards and departments once I started my nurse training it became evident how senior HCA's today are way too self confident and as I observed many unsafe practices of HCA's as they have NO register or NMC to be accountable for they merely shrug off the usual smack on the wrists. BE WARNED within 10 yrs advanced HCA and band 4 level HCA will be hitting the headlines for unsafe practice. Also there attitude to those of us qualified as nurses is sadly lacking!!! Time to get back to basics and respect for nurses! HCA are vital to nursing BUT caution is needed over qualifying them and giving them a false sense of power/leadership! NOW is the time to regulate HCA and accountability, if they were governed as nurses so many unsafe practices would be reduced as well as attitude and behavior problems of many HCA's.

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  • wow!!!! haven't you got a problem hey pull your claws back and act pro and where is your conduct ? or on the other hand don't now where is your respect
    we have no power with people like you and attitude will you have it all congratulations nurse of the moment ya!!!!!

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  • nice one !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • text book ?

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  • Farmacist in te GP surgeries.. HCA like a nurses.., paramedics prescribing abx.. 'Ersatz based care' should be a new definition of the care sector in the UK

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  • Anonymous, please do not anguish over the invalid and generalised statement made; it's totally irrelevant without any evidence to support it.

    Perception from others on what we do is clearly defined by our actions; if we behave accordingly and respectfully, what more can we possibly do, other than seek to address.

    Imagine what team work would be like if we could all adopt such a value.

    If some find the value hard to embrace, encourage and guide them. If they cannot comply, get rid of em!

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  • Anon (17-Mar-2015 8:02 pm

    Oh dear throwing toys out of the pram as you said YOU was once a HCA AH whats changed no extra money lots more paperwork more for you to moan about
    get a life.

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  • Anonymous | 17-Mar-2015 8:02 pm

    if you have gone from HCA to RN well done you have obviously worked hard and now with your experience you should be in an excellent position to support and enhance the role of the HCA and participate in their development rather than putting them down. your pointless, poorly expressed and destructive criticism sounds more like a projection of your own attributes and highly unprofessional attitude than those of others and very much a 'sour grapes argument'!

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  • Anonymous | 17-Mar-2015 8:02 pm

    highly subjective and ego-centric evaluation. important is what is best for the professions, the NHS and other employers and above all for the patients. hopefully university education will knock the spots off!

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  • Having just finished 2 years at university to enhance my learning and progress to a band 4 assistant practitioner I appreciate that I am not a trained nurse, I do however practice with the utmost of integrety and have been trained to challenge bad practice whether that is from trained or untrained staff. I have found that generally in life you get back what you give out, so would advise anonymous 17/03/15 8.02pm to reflect and look within

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