Care Assistants to be tested before being let loose on patients

nurse_inspecting_patient_1600_wht_11745And not before time. The estimated 1.3 million Care Assistants in the UK provide more hands-on care than any other health professional for most patients and people in care homes and yet are unregulated.

Now they will have to be certificated after passing a skills and values test.

Campaigners would still like to see these carers to be formally regulated so that they can be struck off but the government is resisting that.

Following a report by the Sunday Times columnist Camilla Cavendish after public inquiry into the mid-staff scandal, the Department of Health has put forward an amendment to the Care Bill directing Health Education England to develop the basis for the certificate.

Further details are to be announced but the Royal College of Nursing doesn’t believe the certificate goes far enough. The Chief Executive Peter Carter said “Workers need to be properly supervised and supported to gain the right knowledge and skills and their training needs to be accompanied by assessments of their competence set against national standards. Clear guidance from employers as to what is expected from them at work is also crucial”.

The RCN sees it as a step closer to mandatory regulation for all health care support workers but I think we’ll have to wait for the next big care scandal before that happens.

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