Unregistered care support workers will soon have to obtain a “care certificate” to show they have completed basic training before they are allowed to work unsupervised, the government has announced.
Health minister Earl Howe has revealed that Health Education England (HEE) will lead work on developing a certificate of fundamental care, as recommended by Camilla Cavendish in her review of regulation and training in the sector earlier this year.
Speaking to the House of Lords yesterday ahead of the government’s formal response to the Cavendish Review, Howe said: “Our goal in introducing the care certificate is to ensure that healthcare assistants and social care support workers receive high-quality induction in the fundamentals of caring.
“This should ensure that they understand the skills required and that they demonstrate the behaviours needed to deliver compassionate care.”
Howe said he had pushed “incredibly hard” to make this announcement now rather than waiting for the formal response to the review, because he recognised the strength of feeling on the issue.
He said it was too early to know what the care certificate would look like, but said it would build on the national minimum training standards published by Skills for Care and Skills for Health in March, as Cavendish recommended.
Responding to Howe’s announcement, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath suggested that the development of a care certificate meant regulation of the workforce was “inevitable”.
“There is no way away from the fact that, once you have a certificate like this, there will have to be a list or a register and people will have to be evaluated,” he said.
Howe disagreed. “We must bear in mind that statutory regulation is not just about training: it is a much broader process and we do not currently view it as appropriate or proportionate for healthcare assistants and social care workers.”
He did accept, however, that the government would have to think about the “mechanisms which would allow, in appropriate cases, the withdrawal of a certificate where an individual had been found wanting in their caring skills”.
The government will work with the Care Quality Commission to incorporate into its guidance the requirement for staff to hold a care certificate.