The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has stepped up its campaign for mandatory regulation of healthcare assistants in the NHS.
More than 2,500 nurses and healthcare assistants have signed a letter to health minister Earl Howe urging for the government to accept an amendment to the health and social bill. The amendment would introduce mandatory regulation for NHS healthcare assistants.
Ministers have argued that there is no need for a mandatory system, since healthcare support workers do their jobs under supervision and are subject to normal employment and criminal records checks.
But the RCN blieves that since healthcare support staff are becoming increasingly involved in patient care they need to be subject to similar assessment regimes as nurses and midwives, and registration should be mandatory.
The proposed amendment, tabled by Baroness Emerton, will be debated by peers in the House of Lords today.
RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “Healthcare support workers play an increasingly important nursing role, carrying out a variety of tasks and it is only right that they are adequately trained and equipped with the skills to do so, through regulation.
“Healthcare support workers want to be able to provide their patients with the best possible care, so by bringing in a framework of minimum standards and training requirements, facilitated through regulation, they will be in a better position to do this.”
“The government has a duty of care to patients and we call upon them to accept this amendment as we do not believe that voluntary registration will protect patient safety adequately.”
Previous reports have warned of the dangers of untrained healthcare assistants in the NHS.
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