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Healthcare assistants want to be regulated

More than 90% of healthcare assistants (HCA) agree they should be regulated and have a code of conduct. 

The Francis report into the failings at Mid Staffordshire hospital called for regulation of healthcare assistants. 

Although the government released a code of conduct late last month, there are no immediate plans to create a HCA register

'Deeply concerned' 

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) chief executive Dr Peter Carter said he is “deeply concerned” that registration has been dismissed in the government's response to the Francis Inquiry.

He said: “This is a crucial recommendation from the recent Francis Inquiry, and something the RCN has long been calling for. 

“It is  clear that HCAs themselves take delivering safe care to patients very seriously.” 

Close to 70% of HCAs polled said they would be willing to pay an annual fee for registration and 43% said they would be willing to pay half the rate of nurses - £50 per year. 

The survey, published in the British Journal of Healthcare Assistants (BJHCA) found that 97% of those polled believe there should be common standards for healthcare assistants. 

In strong contrast to a recent survey which found that 55% of primary healthcare professionals would not want their relatives to be treated at the local hospital, this survey found that 85% of HCAs were content with the standard of care at their own workplace. 

'Engaged and caring'

Most of the HCAs polled work in the NHS (68%), 35% work in hospital and 28% work either in general practice or in the community, with 6% working in the independent sector.

Shortage of staff was named as the number one threat to patient care by 47% of respondents, and 12% said it was “focus on targets”. 

BJHCA editor Peter Bradley said: “While the Government refuses to honour one of the main Francis proposals, support workers emphatically want regulation, and are prepared to put their money where their mouth is. 

“This survey indicates that far from the ignorant and uncaring image so often attributed to them, support workers are knowledgeable, engaged and caring.”