The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has called on the government to make regulation for healthcare support workers mandatory.

More than 2,500 frontline nurses and healthcare support workers have co-signed a letter to health minister Earl Howe asking him to accept an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill that would ensure mandatory regulation for healthcare support workers.

RCN chief executive and general secretary, Dr Peter Carter, said: "Healthcare support workers play an increasingly important nursing role, carrying out a variety of tasks and it is only right that they are adequately trained and equipped with the skills to do so, through regulation. The RCN has consistently stated that mandatory regulation for all nursing staff is vital in ensuring high quality patient services. Anyone who is responsible for delivering care should be regulated and accountable for their actions. Healthcare support workers want to be able to provide their patients with the best possible care, so by bringing in a framework of minimum standards and training requirements, facilitated through regulation, they will be in a better position to do this.

"The Government has a duty of care to patients and we call upon them to accept this amendment as we do not believe that voluntary registration will protect patient safety adequately."

Posted by Robert Mair on 3/1/2012