Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced a number of measures on Tuesday 26th February 2013 to improve patient safety including a statutory duty of candour on all health and social care providers requiring them to inform patients of serious risks to service users. The announcements came as part of the Government’s response to Robert Francis’ report into failings at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust.
In addition to these announcements, the Secretary of State explicitly ruled out proposals to require that all Healthcare Assistants undergo professional registration.
‘Too often we hear that dementia care in hospitals and care homes is unacceptable. Real professional standards and registration for the healthcare assistants who so often provide personal care does not constitute a box ticking exercise and to suggest as such is a deeply disappointing compromise of patient safety for cost or convenience.
We welcome the introduction of a duty of candour for all health and social care institutions as a progressive step which may help bring about a culture change in the way poor care is dealt with. People with dementia occupy a quarter of hospital beds and 80 per cent of care home places so any reforms must be conceived with them in mind.