Jul 11th, 2013
Jeremy Hunt: Train Healthcare Assistants
By Rebecca Falcon
Without the 1.3 million healthcare assistants, who wash, dress and feed those in need, the NHS just couldn’t function. But at the moment some of them are doing their job without basic training. Some are even doing tasks usually performed by nurses or doctors, such as taking blood.
In the wake of the Mid Staffordshire scandal an independent review was set up to look into the training and support that healthcare assistants receive. And yesterday the review’s recommendations, calling on Jeremy Hunt to make sure healthcare assistants get standard training, were plastered across the newspapers.
Experts like the Royal College of Nurses agree, what’s needed is proper regulation. But there’s a problem: Jeremy Hunt. He knows training for healthcare assistants is important. That’s why he commissioned this report. But he’s still delaying the government’s full response until the autumn, leaving many assistants providing care without proper training in the meantime.
Healthcare assistants provide some of the most personal care in our NHS. So it’s essential that they are trained to carry out their role so we can get the best quality care. And that they are treated with the respect they deserve.
Jeremy Hunt is keen to be seen as the patients champion. We know he’s sensitive to any kind of public backlash – especially as the Conservative’s reputation on the NHS is at rock bottom. If enough of us get in touch to let him know how important this is, we can persuade him to do the right thing and implement proper regulations.
We know that Jeremy Hunt pays close attention to 38 Degrees members’ views. When he saw a huge petition growing fast against draft proposal to cap the number of times we can visit our GPs he reacted within 48 hours. So let’s show Jeremy Hunt that we care about the standards of care we receive and how health assistants are treated.
PS: Here’s what a healthcare assistant. Trudie Braily, told the BBC
“There have been occasions where I have been asked to do dressings I’ve not been competent or confident in doing – but knowing that the patient needed that dressing changed I’ve done it because that’s what you feel you need to do.
The most important thing is the patient, and the last thing you want to do is inflict any more harm… so obviously you just worry that you’ve done the right thing.
To think that you could be causing that person some harm, it doesn’t make you feel very good but also you know that that person needed this done.
You are put in a very, very difficult position.”