By | 15 January, 2016

All healthcare support and adult social care workers in the U.K. require training in 15 detailed standards of care within the first 12 weeks on the job according to legislation passed in April 2015.

The Care Certificate may sound daunting to some. Although the regulation has been in place for close to a year, it remains a formidable challenge for many managers in health and social care facilities across the U.K. A lack of clarity and easily accessible information make it difficult for many organisations to train new staff effectively and efficiently. In order to appease concerns, we address the question “What is the Care Certificate and how can it be implemented?”

History of the Health Care Certificate

The Care Certificate was introduced in April 2015 after a string of inquiries and reports following the “Mid-Staff” scandal. The Mid-Staff Scandal revealed negligent and substandard care that was uncovered at Stafford General Hospital between 2005 and 2009 resulting in hundreds of preventable deaths. Subsequent investigation into practices at the Stafford Hospital and Staffordshire NHS Hospital Trust uncovered that misconduct of management and employees was the root cause of these preventable deaths.

Published in February 2013, the final and most comprehensive report found that “a chronic shortage of staff, particularly nursing staff was largely responsible for the substandard care.” Findings also revealed that morale was low due in part to poor training and development programmes that left many care support workers handling tasks for which they were not prepared and that exceeded their scope of practice.

In order to analyse and improve the professional and personal environment for care support workers, Camilla Cavendish was asked by the Secretary of State to conduct a review on the health and social care workforce in the U.K. Cavendish found a blatant lack of consistency in training and development standards, a lack of appreciation for healthcare workers, and a lack of opportunities for professional advancement despite the integral role care support workers play in health and social care. Consequently, her primary recommendation was the development of a “Certificate for Fundamental Care”.

Over the second half of 2013, Health Education England, Skills for Health, and Skills for Care heeded Cavendish´s recommendation and collaboratively built on the National Minimum Training Standards and the Common Induction Standards to create the Care Certificate. After a pilot phase in the spring and summer of 2014, the Care Certificate was released in April 2015.

What exactly is the Care Certificate? Who is it for and what does it cover?

First and foremost, the Care Certificate aims to provide a clear and consistent induction framework for all new Healthcare Support and Adult Social Care Workers. The Care Certificate replaces the Common Induction and Minimum National Training Standards. Incoming Support Care workers should be trained on the 15 required standards of the Care Certificate within 12 weeks of starting a job. The goal of the Care Certificate is to create a consistent national framework and ensure that all care support workers have the ability and confidence to carry out their day-to-day tasks on the frontlines of care.

The Care Certificate covers fifteen basic standards of care:

 1. Understand Your Role 9. Awareness of mental health, dementia and learning disabilities
 2. Your Personal Development 10. Safeguarding Adults
 3. Duty of Care 11. Safeguarding Children
 4. Equality and Diversity 12. Basic Life Support
 5. Work in a Person Centred Way 13. Health and Safety
 6. Communication 14. Handling Information
 7. Privacy and Dignity  15. Infection Prevention and Control
 8. Fluids and Nutrition

The framework published by Skills for Care sets out specific learning outcomes and competencies for each standard. It further illustrates, competency by competency, how mastery of a skill should be assessed. Assessment of these competencies requires either the demonstration of knowledge and understanding or an observation of the care support worker in the workplace environment.

Due to the hands-on portion of requirement, employers can only award the Care Certificate once a suitable assessor has evaluated the healthcare worker’s competency. Since there are no formal prerequisites to become an assessor other than being competent in the fifteen standards, the assessor is an experienced professional. Furthermore, training providers can only assist employers in preparing new staff for the assessment; training providers cannot award the Care Certificate themselves. However, learning management tools for assessing and tracking the outcomes required by the Care Certificate can simplify what otherwise might feel like an insurmountable task.

Do you have a story you’d like to share on the quality of training in your workplace? Has your organisation been trained on the 15 basic standards of care? I’d love to hear your comments below.

Frederik Chettouh

Global Project Lead , Relias Learning

Currently the Global Project Lead at Relias Learning, Frederik previously worked as the International Business Project Lead at Bertelsmann SE & CO KGaA. He holds a B.Sc. in Economics from the University of Mannheim in Germany and has international experience studying and working in Brazil, the United States, and Australia.


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