The public inquiry into the Stafford Hospital failings was published after one of the biggest scandals in the history of the NHS. The inquiry and subsequent report recommended an increased focus on the recruitment and training of care staff.

As part of these recommendations, all new care workers will now have to earn a Care Certificate within 12 weeks of starting in the role. The scheme comes in from April 2015 in England for staff including assistants in hospitals, care homes and those who look after people in their own homes. The Care Certificate will replace the common induction standards and National Minimum Training standards, and sets out explicitly the learning outcomes, competencies and standards of behaviour that are expected of the employee.

It is an important part of a rounded induction which you should provide order to meet the essential standards set out by the Care Quality Commission. The Care Certificate also reflects how these behaviours are underpinned by the Chief Nursing Officer’s 6Cs (care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment). The standards for the certificate include:

  • Understand your Role;
  • Your personal Development;
  • Duty of Care;
  • Equality and Diversity;
  • Work in a Person Centred Way;
  • Communication;
  • Privacy and Dignity;
  • Fluids and Nutrition;
  • Dementia and Cognitive Issues;
  • Safeguarding Adults;
  • Safeguarding Children;
  • Basic Life Support;
  • Health and Safety;
  • Handling Information;
  • Infection prevention and Control.

Responsibility for the certificate and training lies with the employer. Although this may sound daunting, the new Certificate is simply building on and recognising the training currently provided via the induction of new employees. Having the same standards throughout the care industry enables employers to bring new starters into the business who are confident in their competencies as they have completed the minimum necessary training recognised by the Care Quality Framework.

Consistent minimum training standards are essential to protect the public. But they also provide an opportunity to give the public a better understanding of what support workers do, and to develop training which can focus on the core of fundamental care that is common to nursing, social care and healthcare assistants. Many employers are striving to recruit, train and motivate staff under considerable financial pressure. But the best organisations are showing that taking the time to develop good recruitment and training strategies, with proper oversight, can pay off.