Time of Release: Immediate
Commenting on Jeremy Hunt’s response to the Francis Inquiry today Julia Manning, CEO of 2020health (which produced a collection of essays on the future of nursing ‘Too Posh to wash’ from 20 authors in January commented):
“NHS funded student nurses having to spend a year working as Health Care Assistants (HCAs) as a prerequisite for going on to degree sounds like a good idea. However, this ignores the wider issue of how older people are treated in society; what difference will it make in a society where we are not valuing older people in the way that we should?
“There has been a sea change in society – the respect and deference once a given for the elderly is no longer a given. There is a more fundamental problem to be considered.
“Added to this initiative implies that with this training, patients won’t be neglected but we simply can’t afford all the staff to give the ‘soft’ care of washing, feeding, toileting that is required – friends and family must still expect to be involved. We should think of the Friends and Family test in reverse – were you there when your relative needed you?
“With respect to minimum training standards for HCAs, we haven’t applied the learning from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to HCAs – the CQC has minimum (essential) standards, but when they are not met, sanctions are rarely applied. What confidence can people have without at least having a registration system for HCAs to ensure those who have been censored are not simply moving to another job?
“Jeremy re-stated the appointment of a Chief Inspector for Hospitals to help plug the serious gap in trusted information on the quality of care. Hospitals will have a single rating at speciality or departmental level. However the Chief Inspector will report to the CQC even when the responsibility to deal with problems will be undertaken by Monitor and the Trust Development Authority (TDA). This still sounds very convoluted and a recipe for problems falling between the regulators.
“Finally, the statutory duty of candour is only for providers – hospitals, care homes and home care providers. Whereas this is important, the public need to know that individuals will be held accountable. Francis called for duty of candour for staff and nothing less is acceptable.”