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Doctors back healthcare assistant regulation

  • 20 Comments

Doctors’ representatives have backed a call for the regulation of healthcare assistants as part of a drive to ensure health services are “properly regulated”.

The British Medical Association annual representatives meeting in Cardiff last week backed a motion saying the union “demands providers of health services are properly regulated where there are potential risks to patients in the form of invasive procedures, interventions with the potential for harm, or the exercise of judgement which could substantially impact on the health or welfare of vulnerable patients”.

Helena McKeown, a GP from Salisbury who proposed the motion, and other supporters, said they wanted to see the Care Quality Commission sufficiently funded to properly regulate providers. It has recently admitted its work is limited by its budget.

However the doctors also said all health professionals should be regulated. Dr McKeown told the meeting: “The motion not only demands regulation for all but effective regulation.”

It adds to calls for professional regulation for healthcare assistants. The government has said it is against the move. But Nursing Times last week reported a growing movement hoping to amend the Health Bill, as it passes through Parliament, to introduce the change (28 June, news, page 3).

  • 20 Comments

Readers' comments (20)

  • Erm... who cares what doctors think? They ought to put their own house in order before poking their noses into areas that do not concern them.

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  • I don't agree with the above statement. Surely proffessional regulation is what is needed and any support to that end should be appreciated

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  • that sounds about right! but there are still h c a's and c s w's that dont work to rule and have no n v q qualifecations only what is taught at base re-place dressings?

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  • If we wish to protect our profession we need to start protecting ourselves-

    HCA's should be regulated- if they go beyond there competency its the qualified who will be asked why they let them do it-- while we are reforming all- associate health practitioners should be standardised and regulated - they are taking oon advanced roles yet its teh quaified nurse that is accountable
    and there also needs to a standard preceptorship that is recordable

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  • I bet they want HCA’s to be regulated as they’ll be seeing £ signs in their eyes as the money-grabbing GP’s will be calculating how many Band 5 and 6 Practice Nurses they can replace with Band 3 and 4 HCA’s or whatever they’ll be called once they’re regulated. If Doctors think that regulating HCA’s is a good idea then I think we should do the opposite!

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  • I agree with the regulation of HCA's, it is needed as quickly as possible, but they need their own regulatory body, they should not be regulated by the NMC as Nurses are. They should NOT however be regulated to replace qualified Nurses to save a bit of money, as research has proven time and time again that this leads to a vast decrease in patient care.

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  • mike | 4-Jul-2011 3:30 pm

    Mike, why isn't it desirable for the NMC to have a separate register or a separate part of the existing register for HCAs? At least then everything is under one roof otherwise there will be further fragmentation of healthcare, confusion, poor organisation, wasted resources, the right hand not knowing what the left is doing, and possibly many other pitfalls.

    However, the NMC would need to be replaced or restructured first to provide a more suitable and responsible registering body fit for the needs of the nursing profession than is currently the case.

    "They should NOT however be regulated to replace qualified Nurses to save a bit of money, as research has proven time and time again that this leads to a vast decrease in patient care."

    Is this not more likely to happen if some other organisation undertook to regulate them.

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  • Anonymous | 4-Jul-2011 3:52 pm, first of all, I think that you are right in saying that the NMC would need to be replaced or restructured, as it is simply not fit for purpose on any level at the moment. However, in terms of one body (the NMC) representing both of us together, I do not think that would work either. Nurses are not HCA's, just as HCA's are not Nurses, and having a seperate regulatory body would allow that body to concentrate specifically on the needs of its own members, differentiate us professionally for professional identity, etc etc. You do not for example see Pharmacists lumped in with Doctors under the GMC, or Physios lumped in with Radiographers, etc etc. And to answer your direct question, 'Is this not more likely to happen if some other organisation undertook to regulate them', No, I think the opposite is the case. It is MORE likely to happen if the NMC regulated both.

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  • mike | 4-Jul-2011 4:56 pm

    Absolutely right: once HCA’s gain a pin number from the NMC then we might as well hand in our notices there and then! I don’t think qualified colleagues realise the danger to our profession of allowing HCA’s anywhere near the NMC.

    Thinking about it logically: how would the NMC actually do it? If you think there are HCA’s with literally no qualifications, but years of experience, then there’s some with an NVQ I, II or III, then there are those with Foundation Diplomas or degrees or whatever. It would be a complete farce. Which HCA’s would they allow onto the register? If you admit all then registration becomes meaningless, or would they have HCA level 1, 2 or 3 etc. Can you imagine the cost, I for one would not be prepared to shoulder any increase in the cost of my annual registration

    My fears are that they wont bother admitting HCA’s, but will admit these Assistant Practitioners. Within weeks of the announcement, every University and HE College will be offering 1 year AP courses leading to NMC registration and that’s when the number is up for Registered Nurses. Our employers will be falling over themselves to employ these AP’s as they’ll be cheaper than nurses and probably more flexible in what they’ll be prepared to do.

    I have no problem in HCA’s having their own register with their own body, but I don’t think the NMC should touch them with a bargepole. Wouldn’t it be ironic that if HCA’s do become registered with the NMC, that the NMC would play a major part in the downfall of the profession it is supposed to represent!

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  • Anonymous | 4-Jul-2011 6:55 pm:
    I'd really like to think that your scenario won't be the case and yet I have absolutely no evidence of anything to the contrary.
    We need the public to stand up and be counted on these issues. If the public want a dumbed down service then that's what they'll get, and that is what they'll get if they don't speak up.

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