Opinion

The Care Certificate

The new Care Certificate sets a standard for all healthcare assistants

The Care Certificate has started to replace the Common Induction Standards and the National Minimum Training standards for healthcare assistants (HCA) and social care support workers

It has been developed in response to the Cavendish Review, which looked at the recruitment, training and support of HCAs across the NHS after the Francis Report into the failure of care at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust highlighted inconsistencies in the training and management of HCAs.

The Cavendish Review recommended that all HCAs receive the same training, based on best practice, to achieve a 'certificate of fundamental care' before being allowed to care for patients unsupervised. 

The government commissioned the health and care sector training bodies, Skills for Health (SfH) and Skills for Care (SfC), plus Health Education England (HEE) which is the NHS education commissioning body, to write the Care Certificate. It was agreed in April 2014, piloted throughout England in NHS and social care organisations, finalised in January 2015 and has been rolling out since April this year.

HEE has written an additional strategy called Talent for Care which describes a vision for the development of NHS healthcare support workers over the next 15 years, and makes the Care Certificate mandatory throughout the NHS. 

The Care Certificate consists of 15 units, most of which are adapted from the Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care. These are:

  1. The HCA role 
  2. Personal development 
  3. Duty of care 
  4. Equality and diversity needs 
  5. Person centred care 
  6. Communication needs 
  7. Need for privacy and dignity 
  8. Fluid and nutrition management
  9. Awareness of mental health, dementia and learning disability
  10. Safeguarding adults
  11. Safeguarding children
  12. Basic life support
  13. Health and safety
  14. Information management
  15. Infection prevention and control

Employer implementation

The Care Certificate relies on employers to implement it in-house, and will not be accredited by any examining body. Assessment will be a combination of written work, workplace observation and basic life support taught by simulation. 

How the theoretical work is taught will be down to each organisation: in the NHS it is likely to be taught in the classroom; in social care, workbooks may be used.  A lead assessor will assess both elements for each unit with input from peers and teachers. 

Each HCA will keep the standards, their written work and all observations in a portfolio.  On completion of training, the certificate will be completed by the training provider or care home manager.

A registered social care manager or NHS trust employee will be responsible for signing off all the Care Certificates.  Currently, there is  no requirement for the assessor to hold a qualification.

Further information

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