The National Association of Care & Support Workers (NACAS) welcomes the report by the Dunhill Medical Trust on care for older people.

The issues raised in the report have been known to us and having them confirmed in another report shows the urgency of changes needed.

The report mentions the current legal requirement of ‘Certificate of Fundamental Care’ as not sufficient to prepare for the high requirements and responsibilities of working and care and lack of practical training. We strongly agree with this assessment as the above-mentioned certificate is often delivered in a short time and does not include enough information to provide person-centred care with confidence. NACAS feels that the certificate undermines academic ability and intelligence of care workers in training. We also believe that any care work induction should include a practical preparation, and shadowing a colleague for one shift does not qualify as enough.

As an association, we have been campaigning and working towards professional registration of care workers, which will raise morale, perceptions of the profession and respect and recognition. A big part of the registration that we are working on is continuous professional development. Care workers, the same as doctors and nurses need to have opportunities and encouragement to participate in ongoing learning to improve their skills, widen their knowledge and refresh both on a regular basis. As the report shows, there is a lack of consistency and control over the continuous learning. By making registration a requirement, we could establish better standards and have improved control over how the carer workforce is educated and improves skills and knowledge on an ongoing basis.

The issues, raised in the report, of siloed working and lack of training and information on who does what show fragmented health and social care system that often fails to deliver person-centred care to older people. From our point of view, it is often clear that other health and social care professionals do not respect or even ask for information and opinions from care workers, who are often the people that spend the most time with people receiving care. It is essential that professionals working in health in social care know and are educated about each others’ roles and that finally care workers are seen as professionals and treated as such.

Care workers have compassion, care and values of person centred-care in abundance; otherwise, they would not come in into an industry that is underappreciated and disrespected. As the report shows the issues with training, continuous development and inter- and multidisciplinary working and learning need to be solved to improve the standards of the care we deliver to older people.

The report shows many essential ways and routes to achieving that. We must also remember that care workers need to be involved in making the changes and decision and policy-making for any of that to have the expected impact.

Let’s use the wealth of experience and knowledge about the people we look after that car workers have and give the professional respect it deserves.

National Association of Care & Support Workers, August, 2018

Find out more about NACAS and how to join.