Care home briefing 136 – Care Certificate pilot scheme now underway

What is a Care Certificate?

Care Certificates are intended to ensure that support workers and healthcare assistants have the required values, behaviours, competencies and skills to provide high quality, compassionate care. The standards to be covered by Care Certificate are:

  • Understanding your role
  • 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

It is intended that the Care Certificate is portable/transferable from sector to sector and employer to employer, and that it should ultimately replace the National Minimum Training Standards and the Common Induction Standards.

Why are they being introduced?

Care Certificates were introduced following the independent review in 2013 carried out by Camilla Cavendish after the Stafford Hospital scandal. The Cavendish Review looked at training and support given to care workers and healthcare assistants and made various

recommendations. One of the recommendations was for Health Education England (HEE) to develop a “Certificate of Fundamental Care” in conjunction with the NMC, employers and sector skills bodies. The Review then recommended that the CQC should require healthcare assistants in health and support workers in social care to have completed the Certificate of Fundamental Care before they can work unsupervised.

What are the implications for employers?

Care Certificates are now being road tested by a range of employers across health and social care over the spring and summer of this year. The intention is to then introduce the Care Certificate from March 2015 so that staff in England working as assistants in hospitals, care homes and those who look after people in their own homes will have to earn their training certificate within 12 weeks of starting their job. Norman Lamb, the Care Minister, has confirmed that the responsibility and therefore the cost of training will rest with employers. How the training is delivered is also the responsibility of the employer who will need to ensure that adequate records are kept that can then be audited.

Employers can test the Care Certificate for themselves and feed back their experience before it is introduced in March 2015 (care.certificate@nhs.net).

It is important that employers start to consider how they will meet the training requirements so that they can award the Care Certificate. Many employers will already have an induction training scheme in place which may cover all or part of the standards that form part of the Care Certificate. Employers should still ensure they have focussed and targeted induction schemes from March 2015 but they must also consider whether the current training they provide for new workers includes those standards identified above, and if not should ensure they are included from March 2015. The good news is that the Care Certificate is intended to be portable so if using Agency Workers employers will just need to ensure that the Agency Worker has the Care Certificate in place and then ensure the usual induction is then provided. We would be delighted to advise further on this. In addition, further information is available at www.hee.nhs.uk/work-programmes/the-care-certificate.

There has been a mixed reaction following the announcement. What many do agree on is that the introduction of the Care Certificate is a step closer to regulation of these types of workers. The introduction also comes at a time when budgets are being cut and commissioners expecting more services for less income. Employers will now need to factor in the additional cost of training and the fact that the worker will be unable to work unsupervised until they have their certificate. Plenty to be thinking about and getting organised for before March 2015.


Disclaimer

This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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