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 pioneer, writer, campaigner and commentator. Formerly a clinical optometrist specialising in diabetes and visual impairment, she is the founder and Director of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal and Social. 2020health has through research, events and campaigning influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. In 2014, 2020health were founding partners of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Since 2016, 2020health has increasingly focused on digital health and public health in the community. Julia is a Fellow of the RSA and now also a part-time PhD student at the UCL Interaction Centre, studying the use of digital technology for stress management in the workplace. 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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