Advice line: care certificate for support workers

Catherine Smith discusses what the care certificate means for support workers.

Following the Francis inquiry into Mid Staffs NHS Trust, in 2013 Camilla Cavendish was by asked by the Department of Health to review the recruitment, learning and development, and management of support workers in health and social care in England. 
Ms Cavendish’s review called for  the introduction of a Certificate of Fundamental Care, which became the Care Certificate and was officially launched in April. 
Although initially aimed at support workers who were new to the role, the certificate is also likely to be available to their more established colleagues who want to develop core skills that can be evaluated in practice, providing a platform for further learning and development. It also reassures patients that staff are skilled and competent.
Following feedback, Health Education England, and Skills for Care and Skills for Health made some recommendations to the Department of Health governance assurance board. The organisations called on employers to prioritise ‘new staff, new to care’ and suggested that full-time employees should take 12 weeks to complete the programme, while part-timers might need longer. They also said an assessment should be carried out before a certificate was awarded and that employers should be responsible for awarding the certificate.
The Care Certificate is based on 15 key standards, such as understanding your role, personal development, duty of care and equality and diversity. It is designed to be transferable and will run alongside the employers’ induction process, which must also include role-specific induction training. 
This could be the start of a journey in which support workers will have a personal career pathway, taking advantage of opportunities such as a higher care certificate, apprenticeships and diplomas. 
  • Catherine Smith is a CSP associate member officer 
More information about the certificate can be viewed here.
Catherine Smith

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