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Partners told to provide training for all new health care assistants from March

GPs are being warned they should ensure they have provisions in place to train health care assistants when new regulatory measures come into place in March.

The Care Certificate was developed in the wake of the Francis enquiry to ensure standards in HCAs, including phlebotomists, whose training isn’t regulated through another professional body and addresses 15 ‘competencies’ covering infection control, safeguarding and dementia and cognitive issues.

It should be completed within 12 weeks of new HCAs entering the role, and LMCs advise there are e-learning resources to allow training and assessment to be conducted in house.

Health Education England says care certificate training can be delivered internally be a staff member with the appropriate competency to deliver each element of the training, and e-learning can also be used. This can be created by the practice as long as the meet the required delivery standards, or can be brought in from a third party.

GP leaders say it is important for partners to understand their responsibilities around certification as the practice must maintain a record and this forms part of the CQC’s essential standards on inspections.

Dr Nigel Watson, chair of Wessex LMCs, who is also filling in for his practice manager this year, told Pulse: ‘You suddenly become acutely aware that, from now on, you need HCAs who have got certification. I suspect the managers are clued up, certainly in our area, but I expect the GPs have no clue whatsoever.’

He added: ‘GPs should be aware of their responsibility, which is even more acute with CQC and things, so if they’re employing staff to undertake those roles they’ve got to make sure those people are appropriately qualified.

‘You do need to have time to train these people, which actually means there’s a bigger market for recruiting people who are qualified to do it.’

The certificate replaces and extends the requirements of the National Minimum Training Standards and the Common Induction Standards.