“What do we demand?” “HCA registration!” “When do we demand it?” “Now!”

‘But a Department of Health spokeswoman said: “Setting up a register would be a bureaucratic tick-box exercise. We are tackling this issue at its root, focusing on making sure healthcare support workers have the right training, values, support and leadership to provide the high-quality care that patients deserve.”‘

The gaps in one’s knowledge do – as they should when realised – shock and appall. I had – wrongly – assumed that it was not possible to obtain work on a  hospital ward without being registered as fit, able and willing to be so employed. Instead, as one now discovers, anyone can and does pitch up with just references – howsoever forged – and be let loose on vulnerable, hapless if not helpless patients.

That such registration was recommended by last month’s Francis Report into the Mid-Staff’s horror is not surprising. That is was rejected by this Government is utterly shameful. Until and unless this is done then the HCA role will remain the last refuge of the shameless; by which one means not that most HCAs are not fit for purpose (93% of a small survey sample wanting such registration), but that workers driven out of social care, as rogues or villains or merely totally feckless and utterly uncaring, will pitch up at hospitals the length and breadth of the land. 

As someone who has spent decades in pursuit of the former, trust me they will be turning to the latter. They can run and, so it seems, they can hide. 



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