A review set up by the government to improve care given by healthcare assistants will not consider the issue of regulation, Nursing Times has learnt.
As revealed by this magazine last week, the Times journalist Camilla Cavendish has been asked to chair a review of training and support for HCAs in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust public inquiry report.
The inquiry report, which was published earlier this month, made a number of recommendations on HCAs, including that a compulsory registration system should be established.
In an interview with Nursing Times, Ms Cavendish said the government had not asked her to look at the issue of regulation as part of her review. She would instead be focusing on learning more about the HCA workforce and what motivates them.
“I think one of the reasons I have been asked to do this is to try and give a greater voice to this really large workforce,” she said. “Why do people go into these jobs? The system does not know anything like as much about this group as it should do.”
Officially announcing the review, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said it would consider what training and support HCAs need to ensure the “most safe, effective and compassionate” care. It will cover HCAs working in both health and social care settings, and is due to report by the end of May.
Ms Cavendish told Nursing Times she planned to hold focus groups with HCAs around the country to “understand what the challenges they face are” and “what they like about their jobs”. She has already visited some hospitals and care homes, meeting “a lot of HCAs who are the kind of dedicated people you don’t read about”.
Ms Cavendish, who is associate editor of the Times, has written extensively about healthcare issues in recent years. Mr Hunt said: “Camilla Cavendish has a long-standing and strong interest in the quality of care and compassion in health and social care. She will provide a fresh perspective on the key issues of valuing and supporting the staff who provide that care.”
A Department of Health spokeswoman said the review would “build on” work by Skills for Health, the healthcare skills council. Skills for Health recently produced national minimum training standards and a code of conduct for support workers at the government’s request, but the work is yet to be made public.
The spokeswoman added that the government was considering the issue of HCA regulation separately from the review by Ms Cavendish.
- Editor’s view p1