Last updated: 11.07.13

Report: Healthcare training must improve

Healthcare assistants (HCAs) must receive at least two weeks' formal training before taking up basic duties in hospitals and care homes.This is according to a new independent report by journalist Camilla Cavendish, who criticised the fact there is no minimum standard of care for these employees before they are permitted to work unsupervised.She pointed to the fact that some healthcare staff are only provided with a training DVD before beginning a new position and suggested that HCAs should have to earn a Certificate of Fundamental Care.This qualification would be essential for all new recruits and would make it easier for staff to work their way up a career ladder, while it would also link HCA training to nurse training.According to Ms Cavendish, 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.She said in the review - which was set up as a result of the Mid Staffordshire Hospital scandal - that for people to get the best care, "there must be less complexity and duplication and a great focus on ensuring that support staff are treated with the seriousness they deserve - for some of them are the most caring of all".The journalist also mentioned there are currently 1.3 million frontline healthcare staff who are not registered as nurses, but provide the majority of the same hands-on care.Parliament is expected to deliver a formal response to the report later this year, after it has reacted to the Francis Report into the Mid Staffordshire Hospital crisis.Healthcare companies affected by the announcement may want to examine the ways in which they could better improve training standards for their employees to ensure care within their organisation is at its best at all times.By turning to the services of e-learning provider Virtual College, businesses will be able to improve quality of care in their firm without stretching their budget. The institution boasts a number of online courses suited to workers in the healthcare sector, including its Safeguarding Adults module.