Registration for Healthcare Assistants

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Conference
2014 Health Care Service Group Conference
Date
7 December 2013
Decision
Carried as Amended

HCAs feel undervalued and under the spotlight. HCAs perform one of the most important caring roles; they provide the frontline fundamentals of care, including bathing, helping vulnerable people to eat and go to the bathroom with dignity.

Statistics show that HCAs and other support worker roles deliver up to 60% of direct patient care and make up 40% of the NHS workforce. Yet this essential job is undervalued as they receive less than 5% of the training budgets.

The Francis Report recommends that nursing staff are recruited using values-based systems. However values-based recruitment should apply to all staff irrespective of their role. HCAs are a very proud part of our workforce, disproportionately (although not only) they are part-time women workers who are usually an integral part of the local community, thus bringing that extra special local and friendly factor to the role.

The skills they have are valuable and should be recognised as such. Far too often they have experienced a post code lottery where what they can do in their role is based on who they are working with. Furthermore, their pay often bares little to no resemblance to the skills and competencies needed to undertake the role. All staff should be appropriately remunerated for the role they play.

At UNISON’s 2013 HCA Seminar, delegates made it very clear that the answer is to introduce regulation. Doing this would make sure that all HCAs are trained and competent for the role as well as improve public protection.

We recognise the benefits which could be brought as an outcome of the Cavendish Report. UNISON is the leading union for HCAs and it’s essential that their voices are heard in developing this work.

Conference calls on the Health Service Group Executive to promote the role of the HCA by:

1)liaising with devolved government bodies to increase support for registration;

2)developing and hosting a national awards event to highlight the work of HCAs and other nursing support workers;

3)working closely with Health Education England and Skills for Health to utilise and promote an already highly skilled work force;

4)putting pressure on the government to act on the proposals in the Cavendish report, to ensure that they are fully implemented and robustly monitored.