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Patients put at risk by healthcare assistants

11th January 2012

A large-scale survey by Nursing Standard magazine has found that Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) were often given jobs on hospital wards which they were not qualified to do.

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These tasks included giving patients restricted medication and looking after patients who were in the intensive care unit.

The results of the survey have raised concerns about the type of care patients are subjected to while they are in hospital.

A report by the advisory body the NHS Future Forum, published this week, found that some nurses lacked key skills such as numeracy and compassion.

Professor Sir John Tooke told the Daily Telegraph he had "deep concerns" about standards in nursing. 

He said: "The bulk of nurses don't see people at the top of the profession actually nursing, they see them doing something else. But we know that in medicine, role models are crucial."

"We need to develop the concept of the ward sister, rather than the ward manager."

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said the Nursing Standard's survey results "add further weight to the case for mandatory regulation and guaranteed training standards for healthcare assistants". 

 

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