Student nurses will have to give “hands-on” patient care as healthcare assistants for up to a year before they can become a nurse, the Health Secretary will announce today.
It is hoped the move will “give the public confidence” that people in the profession can be compassionate.
Jeremy Hunt will publish the Government’s response to the Francis report into serious failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust which highlighted “appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people” at Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2009.
As many as 1,200 patients may have died needlessly after they were “routinely neglected” at the hospital.
Many were left lying in their own urine and excrement for days, forced to drink water from vases or given the wrong medication.
Robert Francis QC, chairman of the public inquiry into the “disaster” at the hospital, made 290 sweeping recommendations for healthcare regulators, providers and the Government.
Mr Francis concluded there was a “completely inadequate standard of nursing” offered on some wards at Stafford Hospital.
His report says: “The complaints heard at both the first inquiry and this one testified not only to inadequate staffing levels, but poor leadership, recruitment and training.
“This led in turn to a declining professionalism and a tolerance of poor standards.”
Mr Francis called for an increased culture of compassion and caring in the nursing profession.
Mr Hunt hopes to change the culture by transforming the way nurses are recruited.
Subject to pilot schemes, students seeking NHS funding for nursing degrees will become healthcare assistants or support workers either as part of their degree or as a prerequisite for receiving funding for their degree.
The move will see aspiring nurses giving “hands-on” patient care, Mr Hunt will say.
If it is successful, ministers will see whether the measure should be “extended beyond nursing”.
Another aspect of the Government response will see the introduction of minimum training standards and a code of conduct for health and care support workers.
“Frontline, hands-on caring experience and values need to be equal with academic training,” Mr Hunt will say.
“These measures are about recruiting all staff with the right values and giving them the training they need to do their job properly, so that patients are treated with compassion.”
Labour has urged the Government to take on all 290 of the recommendations made by Mr Francis.
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Article source: http://news.sky.com/story/1069717