Concern has recently been raised that healthcare assistants, in many hospitals and care homes within the UK, are undertaking tasks without sufficient training.
Healthcare assistants clearly have an important role assisting nurses with basic tasks like washing and feeding. However, Mr Carter, Head of the Royal College of Nursing, warns that some healthcare assistants are: “Given a tunic which looks like a nurse's uniform and they are asked to pick it up as they go along.”
Dr Carter explains that: "Mobilising people, catheterising people, dealing with nutrition and hygiene are techniques that should be taught properly." and he adds that it is: “Wholly unacceptable that the public should be cared for by people who are not given rudimentary training.”
Dr Carter also raises some concerns with the quality of student nurses: "While the vast majority of student nurses are well trained, there are a few cases where this training is not of the level it should be.” He adds that it is: “Vital that we do not see a variation in standards across the country, for whatever reason; be it inadequate courses or cutbacks on wards which prevent staff from teaching students as they'd wish."
Dr Carter’s overriding message is that: "Cheap care is poor care.“ He believes that increased spending on regulation and proper training would result in: “fewer problems and complications." In particular he describes the estimated eleven billion pounds recently spent on new IT systems for the NHS as a "national disgrace" and adds that if some of that money had been spent on the workforce instead: “lots of problems with standards of care in some hospitals would have been avoided."
It is the hope of this author that Dr Carter’s concerns don’t go unheard and that appropriate decisions on NHS spending are made to protect the wider public.
If you believe that the medical treatment you have received is below a reasonable standard, then we have a dedicated team of clinical negligence solicitors who would be happy to advise you further. Call us for free initial advice on 0844 245 6602.
By clinical negligence solicitor, Tom Mooney