The NHS is under pressure to revamp the childcare training that nurses receive after a report found one in five trusts were not meeting recommended guidelines.
A Healthcare Commission review tracked 154 NHS trusts across England over a three-year period, and found a fifth (20%) were ‘consistently low performing’ when it came to childcare training and skills. And two-thirds did not train enough nurses in day case settings to administer pain relief to children in their care.
Unions were outraged by the findings. Karen Jennings, head of health at public sector union Unison, said: “Nurses must be given the training to ensure that they look for and recognise the signs of child abuse. They also need to know what action to take when their suspicions are aroused.”
The trusts identified as falling behind compared to the rest of the country need special attention, and the appropriate training must be made part of organisation strategy, added Jennings.
“Appropriate child protection training should be built into every trust’s training strategy, and reflected in the knowledge and skills profile for all NHS posts that require the training,” she said. “Help should be given to those trusts failing to meet the training guidelines to ensure they have the resources to do the job.”
The report revealed that surgeons working with children were also under the spotlight, as it identified areas of poor skill and a lack of training. Some 64% of trusts in England performed poorly when measured against recommendations to maintain the skills of surgeons.
A Department of Health spokesman said: “The vast majority of NHS patients experience good quality, safe and effective care. However, we continue to strive to make services even safer, and we expect boards to take account of the Healthcare Commission’s recommendations seriously and to take action where necessary.”
He added: “We have acknowledged for some time the need for stronger leadership within the NHS and have worked to ensure that this need is addressed.”