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Danger from 'untrained' staff

7th December 2006

30062006_NurseBloodPressure1.jpgThe NHS is letting people work as healthcare assistants without undergoing any training, according to research from the Royal College of Nursing.

HCAs can work in the health services for months before they receive formal inductions, and this could put patients at risk, the research found.

The RCN said HCAs provided essential nursing care which can often involve intimate contact with patients. They said it was outrageous so many were receiving no training. The college advises HCAs must undergo some formal training and mentoring before being allowed to care for patients.

Nurses are also unsure of what tasks HCAs should be given, the study found. Decisions are being made based on how well the nurse knows the individual, rather than their level of training.

The study surveyed 195 HCAs and 35 ward managers at two acute trusts, followed up by interviews in focus groups.

HCAs are currently unregulated, and the RCN now plans to develop a set of competency standards, which as been welcomed by NHS Employers.

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Comments

Anila Reddy

Friday 8th December 2006 @ 13:57

I am sorry to say it is rather hypocritical of the RCN to be warning about health care practitioners on the one hand and on the other hand saying precious little about the fact that there is no advanced nurse practitioner register,that the NMC (nursing and midwifery council) has not and will not set out specific standards for medical specialities to regulate the role,qualifications and training of nurses who are taking over the role of doctors.I have worked in the Canary wharf walk in centre and it is clear to me that there is a political will to set up nurse led dr free clinics where the nurses act as mini doctors with 30 to 60 days of training.Come on RCN stop the overt double standards and get your own house in order.They know that nurses are doing dr's work when they do not have the requisite training.They also know that the new privately run NHS walk in centres do not even come under the present legislative framework that checks on private health clinics.The RCN is happy for patients to be left in this situation till 2010.The nurses pose a much greater risk to patients than the health care practitioners as they are making diagnoses when they do NOT have the diagnostic skills.The government recently allowed nurses who had done a 38 day prescribing course to prescribe any drug that gp can.Only 4000 of the 8000 nurse working as advanced nurse practitioners have the qualifications the RCN itself had recommended 8 years ago.It is a travesty that will end in a patients death


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