Recommendation 210

Code of conduct for healthcare support workers

There should be a national code of conduct for healthcare support workers.

Skills for Health and Skills for Care published a national code of conduct for health care support workers and adult social care workers in March 2013. The Cavendish Review recommends that Skills for Health and Skills for Care should refine its proposed code. Skills for Health and Skills for Care will review the code to ensure the language is simple and that there is synergy with the social care committment, launched in September 2013, which the Department of Health has developed in conjunction with Skills for Care and other partners.  The social care committment is the sector’s promise to provide people who need care and support with safe, high quality services.  It brings together other initiatives into a simple framework in simple language, giving clarity to employers and employees about what is expected of them.


By August 2014, 1,088 adult social care employers have signed up to the Social Care Commitment. An independent evaluation report has concluded that in the vast majority of cases, the Social Care Commitment has resulted in an improvement in the quality of care provided. The Social Care Commitment is also in the process of being mapped with Compassion in Practice, ‘6 Cs’.

Skills for Health and its partners have recently consulted on whether the code of conduct is relevant not only to Healthcare Assistants working with nurses and midwives, but also to those who work with Allied Health Professionals. The results and amended code are expected to be published shortly. Much as the Social Care Commitment pledges employers to ensure their employees are properly supported and so can meet the Code of Conduct, Skills for Health and Skills for Care have also examined how the NHS Constitution fulfils that purpose for employers of Healthcare Assistants working in organisations providing NHS services.