In February 2013 the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced an independent review to look into how the training and support of healthcare and care assistants could be improved, to ensure that patients received the best care. Camilla Cavendish, Associate Editor and columnist at the Sunday Times, was asked to lead the review and to consider both NHS and social settings.
The Department of Health has today published the recommendations of the Cavendish Review. The key recommendations are as follows:
- Common training standards across health and social care, along with a new ‘Certificate of Fundamental Care’, written in language that is meaningful to patients and the public. For the first time, this would link healthcare assistant training to nurse training.
- The opportunity for talented care workers to progress into nursing and social care through the creation of a ‘Higher Certificate of Fundamental Care’. This will ensure they have a route to progress in their careers and an opportunity to use their vocational experience of working as healthcare assistant to enter the nursing profession.
- HEE, with Skills for Health and Skills for Care, should develop proposals for a rigorous system of quality assurance for training and qualifications, which links to funding outcomes, so that money is not wasted on ineffective courses.
- Healthcare assistants should be allowed to use the title ‘Nursing Assistant’ on completion of the Certificate of Fundamental Care to improve clarity and communication between staff and patients, enhance the status of support workers and reduce the number of job titles – which currently stands at more than 60.
- The Nursing and Midwifery Council should make caring experience a prerequisite to starting a nursing degree and review the contribution of vocational experience towards degrees.
- Trusts should empower Directors of Nursing to take full responsibility for the recruitment, training and management of Healthcare Assistants. Employers should also be supported to test the values, attitudes and aptitude of future staff for caring at the recruitment stage.
- The legal processes for challenging poor performance should be reviewed so that employers can be more effective in identifying and removing any unsatisfactory staff.
Welcoming the review’s publication, the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, stated
“We are determined to build a compassionate health and social care system – one where people are always treated as individuals, with kindness and respect.”
The Government will provide a formal response to the Review, along with its response to the Francis Report, in the autumn.
If you or a family member are concerned about the standards of care you have received while hospital or any other institution providing medical or social care and would like further advice, please contact one of the members of the medical negligence team who would be happy to advise you further.