Government response

DH’s response to campaign on compulsory training for healthcare assistants

Department of Health’s response to 38 Degrees’ campaign about compulsory training for healthcare assistants.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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The government wants patients to have the safest, most effective and compassionate care, so the NHS must ensure that the staff carrying out this most personal and fundamental support have the right skills and values to provide this.

The government is determined to place compassionate care at the heart of the NHS and social care system. Employers, commissioners and providers need to ensure that they have the right processes in place to ensure they have the right staff with the right skills. With this in mind, the government does not view compulsory statutory regulation as the answer for support workers. Regulation is no substitute for good leadership at every level and proper management of services, and ministers have not seen evidence that compulsory statutory regulation is necessary for this workforce.

The Cavendish Review into the training and support of healthcare and care assistants was published on 10 July. The review makes a number of recommendations on how the training and support of healthcare assistants, who work in hospitals, and social care support workers, who are employed in care homes and people’s own homes, can be improved to ensure they provide care to the highest standard. The review proposes that all healthcare assistants and social care support workers should undergo the same basic training, based on the best practice that already exists in the system, and must get a standard ‘Certificate of Fundamental Care’ before they can care for people unsupervised.

The government will need to consider the recommendations of the review carefully before deciding whether and how to implement them. The Department will then work with stakeholders to ensure that any planned implementation is affordable and effective.

Published 27 August 2013