‘Fears over the use of Apprentices in the NHS’ Asons Solicitors Comment

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Around 8,000 places have been allocated to Apprentices within the NHS, with concerns that teenage apprentices are carrying out tasks normally completed by fully qualified healthcare assistants. If an apprentice from any industry sustained a back injury at work, due to improper training or supervision, they would be considered to have a back injury claim for compensation.

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Around 8,000 places have been allocated to Apprentices within the NHS, with concerns that teenage apprentices are carrying out tasks normally completed by fully qualified healthcare assistants.

The Nursing Times (1) have recently reported worries that apprentices are regularly being asked to perform clinical and caring jobs without supervision, a clear health and safety breach. This reported abuse of the apprentice scheme not only risks the safety of the patients, but also of those participating in the programme. With apprentices being asked to perform clinical and caring jobs, such as washing patients and checking for skin changes, without supervision (1), it is clear that guidelines need to more stringent.

Anyone living in England, over the age of 16 and not in full time education, can apply for an apprenticeship. Advertised as a way to earn while you learn, using a hand-on approach, apprenticeships have become incredibly popular; with businesses keen to become involved (2).

Unfortunately according to the Nursing Times, within the NHS, worries have arisen that Apprentices’ as young as 16 may be being used to fill gaps in rotas and keep staffing costs down (1). Around 8,000 places have been allocated to Apprentices within the NHS, with concerns that teenage apprentices are carrying out tasks normally completed by fully qualified healthcare assistants. Aside from being asked to complete emotionally distressing tasks such as laying out a dead body, the implications of handling patients without supervision and training could have an impact on an apprentice’s physical health.

While Skills for Health have developed a framework to provide clarification as to the type of tasks apprentices can do, the framework does not identify which areas of patient care they should not become engaged in (1). Without supervision apprentices could become over involved, without the necessary training.

The NHS is clear in their guidelines for lifting patients, with training for those qualified regularly refreshed; commenting on the matter, Asons Executive Thomas Fairclough, has released the following statement:

“In an ideal world apprentices would be supervised at all times. However, it is easy to comprehend a situation where an apprentice would feel pressured to care for a patient independently. Even an everyday task such as bathing a patient involves more lifting than you would expect. Without sufficient training it would be easy for an apprentice to sustain a back injury at work. This is true regardless of the industry they are working in”

If an apprentice from any industry sustained a back injury at work, due to improper training or supervision, they would be considered to have a back injury claim for compensation. According to the Nursing Times, Angelo Varetto, head of apprenticeships at Skills for Health (1):

“Apprentices should have a minimum of 670 hours of learning in 12 months and should not be left unsupervised”

If you, or someone you know, have sustained a back injury at work due to improper training you may have a case for back injury compensation. Contact Asons solicitors today to find out what kind of help is available. Call us on: 0844 850 1062 or fill out a claim form at http://www.asons.co.uk

Sources:

(1) Lintern, Shaun.“Fears over the use of HCA apprentices” Nursing Times. 9-15/04/2013: pg. 1-3
(2) apprenticeships.org.uk/Be-An-Apprentice/The-Basics.aspx

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About Asons Solicitors:

Asons Solicitors is a Bolton-based law practice that specialises in personal injury and industrial disease claims. Founded by brothers Imran Akram and Kamran Akram, Asons Solicitors has developed to become a young and dynamic law firm that delivers practical solutions to clients in times of difficulty. Their continued focus on their staff has seen them awarded with the Investors in People “Gold Award”; which is reflected in the professional and personable approach they take in working with clients. They strive to grow and to develop, and their supportiveness and attention to detail ensures that their clients use them time and again.

For further information contact:
Email: info@asons.co.uk
Website: http://www.asons.co.uk

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