Continuing professional development (CPD) in the care sector is fundamental, especially in a time of staff and budget pressures. It empowers your support staff to provide an outstanding level of care to service users, so they get the best care possible. And, giving your employees the resources to improve their skills is proven to increase job satisfaction.

But, making time for it is a challenge. Whether your team works within a care home, hospital or other care provision facility, they are probably stretched as it is.

Not to mention the fact that pressure on your staff can increase without warning. When medication routines change, or patients suffer a fall or reduced mobility, looking after them can require more staff time on site. To add training to the list of ‘to-do’s can seem like a low priority, and one that will always be overlooked for something more urgent.

Managing talent in the social care sector is a full time job in itself. You have to weight the options, because doing nothing can affect your CQC Standards and the level of care service users are receiving. You can:

  • Recruit larger teams (good luck finding the budget).
  • Rely on the variability of agency talent, possibly affecting service and undoubtedly increasing the complexity of your roster.
  • Incrementally improve the skills you have in-house, with appropriate and forward-looking training.

Now, option three is starting to look like a priority, not an ‘added extra’, right? Here’s why personal development matters:

A world without CPD…

Failure to support staff operating in tough conditions can have long-term impacts on your business. Offering health and social care courses online can help to stem the tide of dedicated workers fleeing the wider healthcare sector.

Every day, health and care workers are the difference between life and death and that puts huge pressures on staff. Being inadequately equipped in such a stressful environment is bad for employee wellbeing and bad for business.

CPD and the Care Certificate

To add more structure and professionalism to the sector, the Care Certificate was introduced in April 2015. The Care Certificate is a set of 15 standards that set out the knowledge and skill sets necessary for roles in health and social care.

It started as a recommendation of the 2013 Cavendish review into hospitals in the UK, in the wake of the mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust healthcare scandal. The review found that healthcare assistants were often undertrained, underpaid and carrying out high-pressure roles without the appropriate training or support.

A report in The Independent at the time noted:

‘Some healthcare assistants were performing tasks usually reserved for doctors and nurses, such as taking blood samples from patients, without receiving standardised training. The Cavendish Review found that employers were instead deciding independently what training their staff required.

“The review also found that while assistants were carrying out the jobs nurses are trained to complete such as inserting IV drips, withdrawing blood and plastering, they were paid at three levels below a newly qualified nurse.’

While there is no mandatory legal requirement for staff to have a Care Certificate – and so as explained by workers union UNISON, the Care Quality Commission cannot enforce its use – these basic competencies should be at the heart of any health and social care company’s plans.

Areas to focus on with care sector professional development

The Care Certificate paved the way for guiding modern training standards, and covers the minimum standards that support staff should learn in induction training before they are allowed to work without direct supervision.

Alongside basic health and safety, this should include:

Accredited online courses can easily cover the relevant information and the average time it takes to fulfil these competencies is around 12 weeks.

Now’s the time to make continuing professional development a priority. Your team, your budget and your service users will thank you.

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