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Decoding the Care Certificate: 4 things every provider should know!

It is now several months since the launch of the Care Certificate, the new national induction framework that sets out standards to which all health and social care workers must adhere in their daily working life.

Introduced on 1st April 2015, the certificate’s origins can be traced back to the Mid Staffs scandal and subsequent Cavendish review.

In our experience, there is still a considerable degree of confusion amongst healthcare professionals and their employers regarding the Care Certificate, so here are four key facts that we think every provider should be aware of:

One: There are 15 standards

In order to be awarded the Care Certificate, healthcare assistants who work in hospitals and social care support workers employed in care homes or people’s own homes must demonstrate that they are competent in the following areas:

  • Understand your role
  • Your personal development
  • Duty of care
  • Equality and diversity
  • Work in a person-centred way
  • Communication
  • Privacy and dignity
  • Fluids and nutrition
  • Awareness of mental health, dementia and learning disability
  • Safeguarding adults
  • Safeguarding children
  • Basic life support
  • Health and safety
  • Handling information
  • Infection prevention and control

Two: New staff members are the priority

Employers are advised to ensure “new staff” who are “new to care” are first in line to receive the relevant training and undergo the various assessments. All new healthcare assistants and social care support workers will be expected to gain a Care Certificate within 12 weeks of employment.

Three: The CQC is taking note

The Care Quality Commission clearly views the Care Certificate as an extremely significant development for the sector, and it expects care homes and other providers to take it just as seriously. The CQC states:

“All providers should be able to demonstrate how they are meeting the regulations and how they are providing a safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led service. Use of nationally recognised good practice, such as the Care Certificate, is one good way of helping to demonstrate this to CQC.”

The Department of Health itself has said:

“The Care Certificate is referred to in the CQC’s guidance as a benchmark of how providers can meet the staffing regulations, and may be actively looked for by CQC inspection teams.”

Whilst recognising that it will take some providers longer than others to get to grips with the new induction framework, the CQC believes it is “reasonable to expect providers to be implementing the new standards by the autumn.”

Four: Your own induction process still matters

The Care Certificate is not a replacement for your own employee induction process. Rather, it should be seen as a key element of your overall efforts to ensure that all new staff members are competent. As the new national framework, it replaces the Common Induction Standards and National Minimum Training Standards for all new starters in health or social care.

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