Press release

Patients to get better care from healthcare assistants

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

New review will look at how healthcare and care assistants will be better trained and supported.

A new independent review will look at how the training and support of healthcare and care assistants can be strengthened so they give better care to patients, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced today.

The review will be led by Times journalist Camilla Cavendish who will report back to Government at the end of May. It will look at how healthcare assistants can have the training and support they need to provide essential services to the highest standards. Ms Cavendish will also look at how recruitment can be strengthened to place the right people, with the right values and behaviours, in the right settings.

Healthcare and care assistants provide some of the most personal and fundamental support that people get - eating, washing, dressing, help getting out of bed or going to the toilet. They also take basic measurements such as temperature, pulse and weight.

In his report into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, Robert Francis QC set out the importance of looking at how care is provided at every level.  Camilla Cavendish has agreed to conduct an independent study of healthcare and care assistants to ensure that they have the training and support they need to provide these essential services to the highest standards.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

“We want everyone receiving treatment and support across the health and care sector to get the most safe, effective and compassionate care.

“So we need to make sure that the staff tasked with carrying out some of the most personal and fundamental jobs have the skills, values and behaviours needed to provide this.

“Camilla Cavendish has a long-standing and strong interest in the quality of care and compassion in health and social care.  She will provide a fresh perspective on the key issues of valuing and supporting the staff who provide that care.”

The review will also explore how to raise training standards. This includes making sure people get the right training, development and feedback to provide compassionate and competent care in busy working environments and providing consistent training and development to help the best healthcare assistants progress to their potential in more senior roles.

Camilla Cavendish said:

“I’m delighted to be leading this review into a vitally important part of the health workforce. Feeding an elderly sick person, turning them and avoiding pressure sores are skilled tasks. There are more care assistants than nurses in this country, many of us will rely on them in old age, and we need them to be as good as they can possibly be.”

Ms Cavendish will be drawing on the experience of a wide number of people and organisations, including those who use these services, the staff that provide this care, leaders and supervisors, as well as employers. The work will also consider and draw on the key lessons from the Francis Inquiry.

Notes to editors

For further information please call the Department of Health press office on 020 7210 5738 / 5896.