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.

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.



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One Response to Patients to get better care from healthcare assistants

  1. This question pre-supposes sorpput for commissioning consortia and the purchaser-provider split. I certainly don’t subscribe to the former and have reservations about the latter.a0I think the NHS currently strikes a good balance. As a clinician, I can do what I believe to be right for my patient but am governed by local regulations and national guidance designed to maximise the benefit that can be gained from a finite pot of health resources. These regulations have been worked out on a macro level by people who know what they are doing and can act rationally without their judgment being affected by their relationship with particular patients.For example, in Oxfordshire, GPs route orthopaedic referrals through a triage service run by senior physiotherapists which reduces costs and, nationally, NICE prevents colleagues from spending money on cancer drugs that cost a huge amount of money and only prolong life by weeks to months.a0The alternatives are capitation or fee per service. a0Jerome Kassirer outlines the significant problems with these two systems in his excellent booka0On the Takea0– the former incentivises stinginess in intervention and the latter excess. Both result in the clinician having a conflict of interest between doing what is best for the patient and maximizing returns.a0The emasculation of NICE and the formation of the Cancer Drug Fund – which is to be paid for from the NHS budget – are in my opinion terrible mistakes.a0Greater integration of budgets – probably necessitating less rather than more competition may offer a means by which health services can be further improved. For example, telephone advice lines operated by specialists could help GPs to avoid unnecessary referrals but would result in a loss of revenue to secondary care under current arrangements. Similarly, flexibility within (or abolition of) the purchaser-provider split, allowing consultant-consultant referrals, could free up GP appointments whose sole purpose is to request a referral recommended by a specialist. Ditto appointments during which a GPs sole purpose is to prescribe something recommended by a specialist reluctant to meet the cost from their own budget.a0Perhaps the greatest potential saving could be made by integrating the health and social care budgets. This would free up the large amounts of money spent on acute beds for patients awaiting social care which could be spent on nursing home beds and employing carers. The current dramatic cuts to the adult social care budget represent a false economy.

    on April 29, 2013 at 8:37 pm Maciek

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