Too posh to wash?

Jeremy Hunt’s statement today on the Francis Report is expected to include:

  • Mandatory first year for nursing students spent as Health Care Assistant
  • Standard training for Health Care Assistants (but no registration)
  • Duty of candour but with no individual responsibility

Julia Manning, CEO of 2020health which produced a collection of essays ‘Too Posh to wash’ from 20 authors in January commented:

“It looks as though Jeremy Hunt is going to step up and answer the question ‘did we show nurses how to wash in the first place?’ This mandatory first year of delivering basic, ‘soft’ care sounds like a good idea. It leaves many further questions to be answered however:

  • Is the first year now an apprenticeship and what support will be given to those who are from low income backgrounds?
  • Who will tutor them?
  • 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.

“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?

“Although the Francis Report stated that the primary responsibility for care is with Board of Directors, we still need to think how we can make the duty of candour a reality on the ward.”

Examples of good practice mentioned by the Board in ‘Too posh to wash’ included Tony Caplin, Chairman of North West London Hospitals NHS Trust giving examples of Matrons present at every Board meeting and Board and staff played back videos of patients interviewed after discharge to learn from their experiences.

Read the full report here.

About Julia Manning

Julia is a social pioneer, writer and campaigner. She studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991, later specialising in visual impairment and diabetes. During her career in optometry, she lectured at City University, was a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital and worked with Primary Care Trusts. She ran a domiciliary practice across south London and was a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. Julia formed 20/20Health in 2006. Becoming an expert in digital health solutions, she led on the NHS–USA Veterans’ Health Digital Health Exchange Programme and was co-founder of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Her research interests are now in harnessing digital to improve personal health, and she is a PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at UCL. She is also dedicated to creating a sustainable Whole School Wellbeing Community model for schools that builds relationships, discovers assets and develops life skills. She is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Digital Health Council. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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