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Minister hints at mandatory HCA training


Health minister Norman Lamb has hinted the government could impose national minimum training standards for healthcare assistants as part of its response to the Francis report.

In his landmark report, published last month, chair of the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, Robert Francis QC, called for HCAs to be regulated and trained to a minimum standard to enhance patient safety.

Speaking at a conference organised by Skills for Care last week, Mr Lamb said: “It is my belief, and I say this as a Lib Dem minister, as we move towards our response to Francis, that everybody should have training.

“The sense that at the moment, people can be allowed to do quite intimate care in hospitals without any training is not acceptable.”

At the request of government, Skills for Care and Skills for Health have recently produced a code of conduct and national minimum training standards for HCAs. They were submitted to the Department of Health at the end of January but ministers have yet to say whether they will implement them.

Mr Lamb said the government wanted employers and employees to “agree on how to improve skills and give better care.”

He added: “Everyone should be getting training at some level and I want to make sure resources are there. If we are talking about high quality care, training is completely central to that.”

The government’s response to the Francis report is expected next week.


Readers' comments (3)

  • Regulation of HCAs will be just the same as reinstating the role of the Enrolled nurse, they never should have been phased out as the nursing sevrice reqiures hands on practial nurses who are qualified to a standard of oroffesional care where they are also accountable for their actions.

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  • ya but this has been going on in hospitals for a while to reg nurses this is yesterdays news as we are trained to the compedences of our role which as gone through exams?

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  • It makes my blood boill, frankly, to compare SENs (who are Registered Nurses) to HCA training. SENs are employed as Band 5 nurses, at least in my Trust, and take charge of shifts, with a high level of competence, equal to, and in some cases, higher than RNs.

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