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Call for New Minimum Training Standards for Healthcare Workers

An independent review set up in response to the Stafford Hospital scandal has called for the introduction of new minimum training standards for Healthcare assistants before they can work unsupervised.


The Cavendish Review found that there is currently no minimum training that care workers must receive before they can start work and that this could be adversely affecting patient care. In some cases workers were reportedly only given a one hour training DVD to watch at home before starting to care for patients, which could lead to procedures being carried out incorrectly.

The lack of a consistent training programme is particularly worrying at a time when Healthcare assistants are increasingly carrying out invasive tasks that used to be the sole preserve of doctors and nurses, such as drawing blood, or fitting catheters. One Healthcare assistant interviewed by the BBC stated that staff are put in a "very difficult position" when they are asked to carry out procedures that they are not qualified to do.

Camilla Cavendish, a journalist who was tasked with carrying out the review, suggested that in future all Healthcare Assistants should have to earn a new qualification before being allowed to practice, which she called a “Certificate of Fundamental Care”. Whilst details of the proposed qualification’s content have not been established, Ms Cavendish suggested that it would involve basic duties such as first aid, health and safety and the prevention of infections and take “a couple of weeks”. Current Healthcare workers would need to prove they already had the equivalent knowledge in order to continue practicing.

Although the Minister for Health, Jeremy Hunt, today welcomed the review’s findings, he rejected calls for a system of regulation for the industry, suggesting it could become “a bureaucratic nightmare”. The Government will issue a formal response to the review by autumn and has renewed its promise to have minimum training standards for Healthcare Assistants in place by spring 2014.

IQ will continue to monitor developments in this story. In the meantime we currently offer a number of qualifications for those looking to enter the care sector; you can read more about them here.

Jul 10, 2013 01:05 PM