Recommendation 211

Training standards for healthcare support workers

There should be a common set of national standards for the education and training of healthcare support workers.

The National Minimum Training Standards for healthcare support workers were published in March 2013. The Cavendish Review  has also made a number of recommendations to improve the national standards on education and training, including a Certificate of Fundamental Care.’

An amendment to the Care Bill was tabled updating the provisions in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 that would enable regulations to specify a body that would set training standards in respect of healthcare assistants and social care support workers. This issue was debated at report stage by the House of Lords on 21 October.  In that debate, in advance of the formal response to the Cavendish Review, the government asked Health Education England to lead work with the Skills Councils, other delivery partners and health and care providers to develop a ‘Care Certificate.’


The Care Certificate sets out the fundamental skills, values and behaviours that healthcare assistants and social care support workers will need to demonstrate in order to provide safe, effective and compassionate care. This will provide a consistent and effective means for health and care providers to satisfy Care Quality Commission requirements that their care support workforce have the right qualifications, skills and experience. It will replace both the National Minimum Training Standards and the Common Induction Standards. Following the successful completion of pilots, the Care Certificate remains on track to be introduced for new healthcare assistants and social care support workers from 1 April 2015. From 2016 all NHS-funded student nurses in England will attain the Care Certificate within their first year of study, if they have not already achieved it. A wide range of employers and staff were engaged with the testing of the Care Certificate, the majority concluding that no radical revisions were necessary. Analysis of feedback received indicated that the draft proposals for the Care Certificate were suitable in terms of content and process

Health Education England has developed a draft set of standards in conjunction with Skills for Health, Skills for Care and other delivery partners. They were piloted across a number of health and social care providers during summer 2014. The Care Certificate is on track to be introduced for new healthcare assistants and social care support workers from 1 April 2015.