March 28 – Standard training is essential for all healthcare assistants, warns the Royal College of Nursing today. In new guidance for commissioners and employers, the RCN sets out its “Position statement on the education and training of healthcare assistants”. It calls for nationally recognised training, regulation, and limits on the tasks that healthcare assistants are allowed to perform.
The authors say: “All healthcare assistant (HCA) training should be competence-based, quality assured and assessed against nationally recognised standards,” and “HCAs must not be expected to perform tasks for which they have not been trained or deemed competent to perform and they have a responsibility to inform colleagues if they are expected to perform a task for which they are not competent.”
The guidance also calls for improved staffing levels and skill mix, which should be based on current recommendations – ideally a ratio of two thirds registered nurses to one third HCAs.
Dr Peter Carter of the RCN said: “Healthcare assistants are valued and integral members of the nursing team. However, they must be supported to develop the required skills and knowledge for patient care.
“The current variability in training that HCAs receive is simply not acceptable, particularly as they deliver such a large proportion of nursing care. Detailed training and education of HCAs is essential to produce an effective workforce who can respond to the changing needs of the health and social care sector.”
The RCN previously called for much tighter regulation and mandatory training for HCAs, but the government has so far not backed statutory regulation and has instead supported a “code of conduct” and voluntary training.
Source: Englemed Newsroom