Eleanor’s Blog – August 2013

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The ramifications of the Francis Report into the failing at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust continue to dominate the news. One of the outcomes was the request by the Secretary of State for Health for the journalist Camilla Cavendish to review what action can be taken to ensure that unregistered NHS and social care staff are equipped to treat people in their care with care and compassion. The independent Cavendish Review was published in July and its recommendations will hopefully be implemented enabling health and social care workers to have access to the education and support they require to provide the level of care demanded by the public today.

The Review recommendations covered four main areas:
1. Recruitment, training and education

In relation to recruitment this would be focused on testing values, attitudes and aptitude for working in a caring role.
In relation to training and education more opportunities for health and social care workers to learn together as well as the requirement that all have to achieve a ‘Certificate of Fundamental care’ before they work unsupervised. Higher levels of competence would be acknowledged through attainment of a ‘Higher Certificate of Fundamental Care’
2. Making caring a career

These included wider participation and more accessible progression routes into nursing and other health degrees. In addition the requirement that prior to starting a nursing degree, students must complete a ‘caring experience’ as well as develop ‘fast-track’ routes for people with vocational experience.
3. Getting the best out of people: leadership, supervision and support
Streamlining job role titles to avoid confusion and clarify levels of competence. A single common dataset to reduce excessive paperwork and the pressure this places on first line managers. Improvements to codes of practice and professional standards to ensure unsatisfactory conduct and practice are dealt with more effectively.
4. Time to care

For the Department of Health to explore with the social care sector how to base payments on the outcomes for people rather than on the activity undertaken. There should be a requirement for councils to include payment for travel time as a contract condition for domiciliary care providers. For healthcare assistants and support workers to be included in the review into the impact of 12-hour shifts on patients and staff.

If the Government implements these recommendations this will bring together many of the areas the sector has been concerned about for the past 10-15 years.
Modern day health and social care is so different to the situation in the 1940s when the NHS was first introduced. Today people accessing services have multiple problems that require a multi-disciplinary approach to adequate support and yet health and social care continues to operate in isolation in many situations. All the recent reviews and inquiries have reached the same conclusion. To improve, organisations need to have closer working relationships and greater integration of services. Until the situation changes, with regard to unqualified and unregulated workers, this will not happen as they will continue to be overlooked as essential members of the multi-disciplinary team.

So let’s hope that the recommendations of the Cavendish Review are implemented so that in the future the phrase ‘I’m only a carer’ will only be heard in historical accounts of health and social care!

You can read the full findings of the Cavendish Review at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/212732/Cavendish_Review_ACCESSIBLE_-_FINAL_VERSION_16-7-13.pdf

Until next time …..

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