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Care Certificate

Since April 2015, all newly recruited NHS and social care support staff that provide direct care to patients and clients, including healthcare assistants, therapy assistants and maternity support workers, must complete a Care Certificate.

Temporary and agency staff must also complete the certificate. Roles that have contact with patients but do not provide direct care such as receptionists or porters may complete all or part of the certificate but are not required to (this is left to the discretion of employers).

What is the Care Certificate?

The aim of the certificate is to ensure that all support staff are taught and can demonstrate the right skills, knowledge and behaviours to provide high quality and compassionate care. Most staff will complete the certificate within three months. It comprises of a combination of learning and workplace assessment by an occupationally competent person. Staff need to remain in ‘line of sight’ supervision until completion.

The certificate, which was the first recommendation of the 2013 Cavendish Review into health and social care support worker education and development (established after the Francis Inquiry into Mid Staffordshire was published), comprises fifteen standards and replaces the National Minimum Standards in health and Common Induction Standards in social care:

  • Understanding support worker roles
  • Personal development
  • Duty of care
  • Equality and diversity
  • Person-centred care
  • Communication
  • Privacy and dignity
  • Fluids and nutrition
  • Awareness of mental health, dementia and learning disability
  • Safeguarding adults
  • Safeguarding children
  • Basic life support
  • Health and safety
  • Handling information
  • Infection prevention and control

Further information about the certificate, including materials to support employers preparing to implement the Care Certificate, is available from: http://hee.nhs.uk/work-programmes/the-care-certificate-new/

What is happening in north west London? 

Since June 2014, we have been working with healthcare employers and other stakeholders such as CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups) and education providers, to prepare for implementation of the Certificate. This collaborative approach has produced a number of benefits:

  • Sharing of experience and best practice
  • Effective use of available resources
  • Greater support for smaller employers
  • Consistent approaches to delivery and assessment
  • Innovation

HEE, in partnership with employers, has developed a toolkit to support implementation of the Certificate in north west London. This includes:

  • Common workbook
  • Assessor training workshops and guidance
  • Common principles and approaches to assessment
  • Communication material
  • Quality assurance guidance

Work is also underway piloting the delivery of the certificate in pre-employment/recruitment work. Over 70 candidates have gone through a programme run by CITE (Communities into Training and Employment) which aims to teach a number of the standards along with other employment skills, prior to employment. A number of CITE candidates have already been offered jobs with local trusts.  

Further information from: nwl.hcsw@hee.nhs.uk

Introducing the Care Certificate in health and social care 

The Care Certificate is being introduced across both health and social care. This has created opportunities to develop shared approaches to delivery, bringing the sectors together, for example by designing strategies to support smaller employers such as general practice and some care homes. To do this, we are working with Skills for Care in north west London. 

Further information from: Richard.Griffin@bucks.ac.uk 

The Care Certificate in General Practice 

A significant number of general practices in north west London employ healthcare support workers. It is recognised that surgeries have considerably less capacity than hospitals to implement the certificate. As a result, we have been working with support workers, practice nurses, GPs, practice managers, CCGs, the London-wide Local Medical Committee and others to scope and provide capacity and capability support where necessary, including commissioning flexible training programmes.

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