Unite has accused Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt (pictured) of being ‘completely out of touch’ by refusing to introduce regulation of healthcare assistants

Tim Lezard
Jeremy HuntUnite has accused the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt (pictured) of being ‘completely out of touch’ by refusing to introduce regulation of healthcare assistants.

It comes after a survey found 93% of participants believed there should be compulsory regulation and a code of conduct for NHS support workers. 

An on-line poll by the British Journal of Healthcare Assistants (BJHCA) asked readers to rate the standard of care in their workplace; the level of support they receive from colleagues and managers.

It also asked what was the greatest threat to the quality of care and what one thing would improve patient care where they worked.

There was also a series of questions asking if there should be a code of conduct and compulsory registration for healthcare support workers and whether there should be a common set of national standards for the education and training of healthcare support workers.

The Francis report into the scandal at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, published last February, was firmly in favour of regulation for support workers, but Jeremy Hunt reportedly said this would not be introduced because it would create “a bureaucratic quagmire”.

Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said:“Once again, Jeremy Hunt has demonstrated that he is completely out of touch with what the NHS requires to meet today’s challenges.

“The BJHCA survey shows what healthcare assistants, who are at the frontline in delivering care, want to happen – statutory regulation to reassure the public on patient safety and to reinforce the status of this vital profession.

“The fact that two-thirds of those surveyed would be prepared to pay a registration fee shows that healthcare assistants are willing to put their money where their mouth is – and it should be remembered that they are lowly paid.”

The registration fee for nurses is £100 per annum.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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