Royal College of Nurses Urges Care Worker Regulation

The UK Government has recently published proposals for a voluntary register of Health Care Support Workers. However this voluntary system has been criticised by many as being inadequate.

The most recent Public organisation to do so is the Royal College of Nursing who called the Government scheme ‘fundamentally weak’. In addition it said the Government should do much more to ensure that Health Care Support Workers are properly supervised monitored and trained. Crucially this needed to be done by a mandatory rather than a voluntary scheme.

The RCN Chief Executive Dr Peter Carter said that too often the training of health care support workers was minimal. It was absolutely vital for patients and also employers to have complete confidence that the carers involved with them were meeting an acceptable level of standards wherever they work.

The problem with a voluntary system was that it would not solve the problem of poor standards and performance but simply allow the mushrooming of varied registers and standards with no one body underpinning their regulation or adequacy. This was almost inevitably going to cause situations where even with the best will in the world from employers and employees there would be people who would slip through the net.

Another benefit of a compulsory system is that health care workers themselves would feel more reassured. Also this would add to their professional development and enhance their status.

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