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 Manning is a social entrepreneur, writer, campaigner and commentator. She is based in London and is the founder and Chief Executive of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal. Through networking, technology, research, relationships and campaigning 2020health has influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. Julia studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991. Her career has included being a visiting lecturer at City University, a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital, working with south London Primary Care Trusts and as a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. She specialised in diabetes (University of Warwick Certificate in Diabetic Care) and founded Julia Manning Eyecare in 2004, a home and prison visiting practice for people with mental and physical disabilities using the latest digital technology, which she sold to Healthcall (now part of Specsavers) in 2009. Experiences of working in the NHS, contributing to policy development, raising two children in the inner-city and standing in the General Election in Bristol in 2005 led to Julia forming 2020health at the end of 2006. Julia is a regular guest on TV and radio shows such as BBC News, ITV’s Daybreak/ GMB, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions, BBC Radio, LBC and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week. She is mum to a rugby-mad son, a daughter passionate about Shakespeare, and wife of a comprehensive school assistant head-teacher. She loves gardening, ballet, Zimbabwe, her Westies Skye and Angus, is an honorary research associate at UCL and a Fellow of the RSA.
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