General practitioner GP practices England Wales

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Focus on the Care Certificate

Background

Following the Cavendish Review (July 2013), which found that the preparation of healthcare assistants and social care support workers was inconsistent, Health Education England, Skills for Care and Skills for Health worked together to develop the Care Certificate. The Care Certificate was introduced in April 2015 and it is expected that all those working as healthcare assistants undertake this learning as part of their induction programme. It contains 15 standards and outlines what healthcare assistants should know and be able to deliver in their daily jobs.

 

CQC

CQC published a press release and a position statement on the Care Certificate. They see it as "best practice for the induction of new healthcare assistants and social care support workers". In their guidance for providers on how to meet the regulations they state that providers must ensure that they have an induction programme that prepares staff for their role. It is expected that those who employ healthcare assistants should be able to demonstrate that staff have, or are working towards, the skills set out in the Care Certificate, as the benchmark for staff induction.

 

GPC Position

The Care Certificate is referenced under Regulation 18 on Staffing and Regulation 19 on fit and proper persons employed. Practices have a legal duty to ensure that their health care assistants receive appropriate support, training, professional development, supervision and appraisal as is necessary to enable them to carry out the duties they are employed to perform. Whilst the Care Certificate is not the only way to demonstrate this, CQC will see it as nationally recognised good practice. Practices would need to be sure that any alternative process was fit for purposes to ensure they fulfilled legal/CQC requirements.

Given this, the GPC believes that the Care Certificate is likely to be the best choice for the majority of practices to evidence to CQC that their healthcare assistants are properly trained. The GPC also supports the Care Certificate as a measure to standardise and improve training for healthcare assistants and, ultimately, to improve the care of patients.

Further information on the Care Certificate is available on the Health Education England website, including a Guidance and Framework documents for assessors.