What training is mandatory for people who work in care?

Carer with patient

In the care sector, it’s the frontline care workers who define the quality of care that patients receive.

From specialist hospital settings to in-home care, the need for skilled and highly trained care staff is universal across all levels of care.

Whether you’re considering a career in care or running an organisation that provides care services, this article will explain what training and qualifications are mandatory for care staff and why high-quality training is so important within the sector.

What do we mean by people who work in care?

When we talk about “people who work in care”, we refer to a broad range of roles. Some of the different roles this covers includes care home workers, care assistants, adult social care workers, support workers, and home care workers. Each of these roles can be employed across a wide range of organisations in the care sector, ranging from NHS and private hospitals, care homes, domiciliary care providers, and mental health institutions. Together, all these different “people who work in care” play a vital role in providing critical health and social care services to us and our loved ones when we need them.

Why is staff training important in care homes?

The importance of mandatory training in the care sector cannot be overstated. Anyone who requires health or care services should have confidence that they’ll receive care that is not only of the highest quality but also safe, effective, and compassionate. Sick and vulnerable people place their trust – and sometimes even their lives – in the hands of care services, making it critical to maintain consistently high standards of care.

To help ensure these standards are maintained, care workers must be trained and competent in their roles. The care employer is responsible for ensuring that all staff have received the appropriate level of mandatory training. Failing to meet these standards jeopardises the standard of care delivered and puts the care provider at risk of violating regulatory requirements.

These regulatory requirements are enforced by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator for health and social care in England. The CQC can take action against any care organisation that does not meet these standards. Ensuring that all care staff receive mandatory training helps care organisations meet both their ethical and legal obligations and safeguards the well-being of the people relying on these critical services.

What qualifications do care staff need by law?

Now we understand why high-quality training is so important in the care sector, let’s discover what training and qualifications care staff need by law.

There is no legal requirement for care staff to have any particular GCSEs, A-levels, or degrees to work within a role in the care sector. However, they need to have completed appropriate training to equip them with a standard level of knowledge, skill, and experience before they begin working within the sector. All care organisations and service providers are responsible for ensuring that any care staff they employ have the appropriate level of training to comply with the various laws and regulations that govern the sector.

Whether individuals require official qualifications to work in a care role depends on the organisation they are joining and the role they are applying for. Some organisations may ask for specific qualifications, like an NVQ in Health and Social Care or similar. Others may favour all-in-one care courses like the “Care Certificate,” which covers multiple topics rolled into one qualification. While the qualification itself may not be mandatory, the training included within it is. This all-in-one approach gives care workers and their employers peace of mind that they have received all the training required to provide a high level of care and meet or exceed the standards set by law.

Mandatory training for care staff

In the UK, there are many laws that govern the mandatory training requirements for the workplace, including those in the care sector. These laws include the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Human Rights Act 1998 and Equality Act 2010, Health and Social Care Act 2008, and Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992.

Core training required to meet these laws includes:

  • Health and safety – This training focuses on maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. It covers general safety protocols, risk assessments, and the correct use of safety equipment, providing care staff with the fundamental knowledge required to protect themselves and the people they care for.
  • Fire safety – Fire safety training equips care staff with the knowledge and skills necessary to prevent fire incidents and handle them safely if they occur. This training typically includes fire prevention techniques, evacuation procedures, and the correct use of fire-fighting equipment.
  • Equality, diversity, and human rights – This topic helps care staff understand the importance of treating all individuals fairly and equally, regardless of their background, age, or gender. It emphasises respect for human rights and teaches strategies to combat discrimination and prejudice.
  • Infection prevention and control – crucial for all healthcare settings; this training covers the essential practices to prevent the spread of infections. It includes hand hygiene, personal protective equipment (PPE) use, and waste management.
  • Manual handling – Care staff often need to lift or move patients or heavy objects. Manual handling training teaches the correct techniques to do so safely, minimising the risk of injury.

In addition to these acts and regulations, care workers must have received training that equips them with the knowledge and skills required to meet the CQC fundamental standards – a set of standards everyone has the right to expect from care services. This training should cover the following topics:

  • Safeguarding adults and children – This topic equips care staff with the skills to protect vulnerable adults and children from abuse, neglect, and harm. It outlines the procedures for reporting suspected abuse and steps for immediate action.
  • First aid – First aid training equips care staff with the basic skills required to provide immediate care during medical emergencies, from CPR to wound and burns dressing.
  • Assisting and moving people – This training provides comprehensive knowledge and techniques for safely assisting and moving individuals, especially those with limited mobility.
  • Communication – Effective communication is essential in care settings. This training aims to improve communication skills, ensuring care staff can effectively interact with patients, families, and other healthcare professionals.
  • Dignity – This area covers the importance of treating all individuals with respect and dignity, focusing on practices that ensure patients’ mental and physical well-being.
  • Medication management – This topic provides care staff with information about the safe administration, storage, and recording of medications. It aims to minimise medication errors and protect patient safety.
  • Mental capacity – Training in mental capacity helps care staff understand the legal and ethical considerations when dealing with individuals who may not have the capacity to make certain decisions for themselves.
  • Food hygiene – This topic covers the safe preparation, storage, and serving of food, which is important for preventing foodborne illnesses in care settings.
  • Nutrition and hydration – This training focuses on understanding the nutritional needs of different individuals and how to ensure they are met, covering everything from meal planning to recognising signs of malnutrition.
  • Person-centred care – Person-centred care training focuses on how to provide care specifically tailored to the individual needs and preferences of each patient, promoting their autonomy and dignity.
  • Recording and reporting – Accurate recording and reporting are vital for patient care and legal compliance. This training educates staff on the importance of correct documentation, the procedures for reporting incidents, and how to securely handle and store patient information.

Specialised training

Care workers who work with patients with specific health conditions or care requirements will need to be trained in how to provide proper care tailored to those specific health conditions. i.e. training in dementia awareness, autism, or epilepsy care.

It’s essential to note that the exact training requirements vary depending on the role and type of care organisation for which an individual works.

Ongoing mandatory training for care staff

Even after being fully trained, care workers must complete ongoing training once in a while to keep their skills and knowledge current.

There are several reasons why care staff may be required to complete regular additional or refresher training during their career; these include:

  • New legislation or best practices – As the healthcare sector evolves, so do the laws and best practices governing it. Care workers may need to complete training to stay updated on these changes.
  • Expiration of previous training – Many training certifications have an expiry date, after which time care workers must refresh their knowledge.
  • Technological and procedural updates – Introducing new equipment, software, policies, or procedures often necessitates additional training to ensure staff are proficient and remain compliant.

Care training courses with CBAT

Here at Care Business Associate Training, we are proud to be one of the UK’s leading care training providers.

Our professional training courses are delivered by trainers with extensive practical experience. We offer high-quality care training, including dementia awareness, infection control, and medication management courses. We also offer bespoke training if required, tailoring your training course to your needs.

For more information, either browse and book a training course online or speak to a member of our team by calling 01772 816 922.