Sunday, 9 March 2014

The Magicians Sleight of Hand: All change, or No change?

Today is a Red Letter Day for my youngest daughter. She is moving out and into her new home with her partner and young Jack. Yesterday was filled with great excitement, sheer hard work, and much loading and unloading of the ubiquitous white hire van. Today my back is telling me that I am getting too old to be taking wardrobes and other assorted furniture downstairs and then take them back upstairs in the new house. It’s definitely a young man’s job. I think next week my house will be a very quiet and still place.

Unusually Cello has been very quiet and still. No long walks for him last week. Last Tuesday he somehow managed to damage his dewclaw, necessitating a minor operation, antibiotics, and pain killers. He is also very sensitive to change and his eyes have been full of anxiety as he’s watched the packing up and moving. Unlike me, he will probably welcome the peace and quiet and regaining his absolute position as the centre of attention in the house hold. Billy the parrot, who also thinks he should be the centre of everyone’s attention, simply said ‘I despair’ and spent the entire time delicately grooming each and every one of his feathers.

And last week there was a lot of noise (and then complete quiet) over the announcement made by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills and the Health Education England about the introduction of Higher Apprenticeships for Nursing. Like Billy, my initial reaction when seeing the announcement was ‘I despair!’. Like any other apprentice scheme, this one is only a way to gain a qualification, it is not a qualification in its own right. Nursing is now an all graduate profession and so anyone contemplating this apprentice scheme would still need to study and gain a degree in nursing.

The origins of this initiative appear to have come, partly as a response to the Cavendish Review chaired by Camilla Cavendish. This review looked at the training needs and the future regulation of Health Care Assistants (HCA). The review was itself prompted by the Francis Report into the provision of care at Mid-Staffordshirel. The contribution HCAs make to the care of patients has been long recognised, although they do not have a voice in the same way as nurses and other health care professionals have.

The apprentice scheme is also said to make it easier for HCA (and others) who may not have the necessary traditional qualifications to enter Universities and nurse education programmes. However, many of our students have worked as HCAs, and like other universities, we also have many different ways in which potential students can access or programmes. The new apprentices would still have to undertake a NMC approved nursing degree, so it’s difficult to see what this so called ‘change’ and ‘opportunity’ is all about.

All this change has prompted me into action. My intention this afternoon, in the newly found peace and quiet, is to refresh my blogs look. So this is the last time the blog will appear in this format – as they say, watch this space!