From The BBC:
There is no minimum standard of training for healthcare assistants before they can work unsupervised, an independent report has found.(1)1. They're assistants. The whole point of an assistant is that they are people working for someone else, rather than people with responsibilities. You tell them to do something, they do it. But if they screw up, you, the person in charge of them take it in the can.
Some were doing tasks usually performed by doctors or nurses, such as taking blood.(2) The Cavendish Review was set up by the government to study the role of healthcare assistants (HCAs) in England after the Stafford Hospital scandal.
HCAs provide basic care in hospitals, care homes and at home. They should go through a universal training system and gain accreditation before they can work unsupervised, the report said.(3) Currently, there is no consistent qualification or training for HCAs, with employers deciding for themselves what training is needed.(4)...
There are more than 1.3 million frontline staff who are not registered nurses, according to the Cavendish Review. They provide some of the most personal and fundamental care such as turning people in bed so they do not get pressure sores, helping people to eat and wash and to get out of bed and get dressed. But the review says the quality of training and support that care workers receive in the NHS and social care system varies between organisations and, in some cases, is lacking.(4)
It calls for a new Certificate of Fundamental Care for fully-fledged HCAs - a qualification that would link HCA training to nurse training, making it easier for staff to progress up the career ladder should they wish to. All new recruits would need to obtain the certificate and existing HCAs would need to prove they had the equivalent training.(5) And in recognition of the important job HCAs do, they should be called Nursing Assistants.(6)
Journalist Camilla Cavendish, author of the review, said: "Patient safety in the NHS and social care depends on recognising the contribution of support workers, valuing and training them as part of a team. For people to get the best care, there must be less complexity and duplication and a greater focus on ensuring that support staff are treated with the seriousness they deserve - for some of them are the most caring of all."(7)
Peter Carter, of the Royal College of Nursing, was concerned that without mandatory regulation there would be a danger that any staff who were found to be unsuitable could move from one employer to another unchecked. "The priority must now be to underpin the recommendations made by Camilla Cavendish in the regulatory structure which governs care," he said.(8)
Christina McAnea, of Unison, said that in some hospitals HCA's have been treated as "cheap labour".(9) "Common training standards across health and social care are long overdue and welcome."(10)
2. Yes, because they're assistants to doctors and nurses. Who can show them to do something, and have to take responsibility for their work. And actually, taking blood isn't brain surgery.
3. Great, so instead of hiring someone with a reasonably active brain and getting them to work by a nurse or doctor showing them the ropes in some basic care, we're now going to have an accreditation scheme, driving up costs.
4. How much training does someone need in turning a patient or feeding them? Millions of parents seem to be able to manage this.
5. Right, so that means not only spending money training new recruits, but also certifying existing recruits. What's that going to cost?
6. Someone now has to go through every piece of documentation and change it. No more healthcare gets done, no more pay to nurses, just some more bureaucracy.
7. None of this means that these people will be more valued. If a doctor looks down on someone who turns the patients, they're still going to look down on the accredited people who turn the patients.
8. Well, yes. Once you get people with accreditation, they'll need a union to try to raise the salary of them.
9. Which is exactly what they are, and they only exist because we made nurses more expensive by turning it into a degree-level job, resulting in the workaround of creating HCAs. If we make the HCAs more expensive, we're going to have to create a new job like Nursing Dogsbody.
10. No, they aren't. Not for assistants doing feeding and turning patients. You want flexible people who can do what nurses and doctors tell them to.