Training standards for care workers aim to raise standards of care
This article first appeared in The Carer 1 Nov 12.
Minimum training standards for care workers aim to raise standards of care
The draft Care and Support Bill was published in July 2012, following the Government's White Paper "Caring for our future: reforming care and support", and sets out a long term programme to reform care and support.
One of the key principles of the draft Bill is that "People are treated with dignity and respect, and are safe from abuse and neglect". The need to address this issue is clear from the reported cases of neglect and abuse, which feature so often in the news headlines. Most recently, at the Breme Care Home in Worcestershire, where several workers were sentenced for wilful neglect of an elderly resident.
The Government's proposal identifies that better skills and training are key to raising standards of care. It includes measures designed to improve the skills and capabilities of people employed in the care and support workforce and allows employers to take responsibility for those unregulated workers.
The measures include:
- Code of conduct and minimum training standards
A code of conduct and minimum training standards for adult social care workers and healthcare support workers ("the Code"), is being developed by Skills for Care and Skills for Health and is due to be published in the coming months.
The Code will set out the training and qualifications for healthcare support workers and social care workers and is designed to support the introduction of voluntary registration for the care and support workforce.
- Compliance with Care Quality Commission ("CQC") requirements
The CQC will continue to play a key role in enforcing quality standards and will be required to assist providers to meet their registration requirement on staff training, by ensuring providers use appropriately trained staff and qualified workers and have the appropriate staffing levels.
Providers will also be able to assure themselves that their workers have met the necessary standards of training and competence by checking their voluntary registration status and this, in turn, should assist providers to meet the CQC standards of quality and care.
- Registered managers
Registered managers are recognised as playing an important front-line role in the leadership of organisations and taking on the responsibility to ensure the quality of care provided. The paper includes a commitment to providing increased support to registered managers, through regular mentoring and supervision.
Of course, only time will tell, how these changes will impact on quality of care and whether it will result in a reduction in the number of cases of neglect and abuse in care settings. However, these measures to improve education and training, which will support the accreditation scheme for voluntary registers due to be launched in December 2012, appear to go at least some way towards achieving this.
Joanna Shaw, Associate in Fieldfisher's Public and Regulatory Law group.