A few weeks ago we were looking through the requirements issued to care providers in England by the Care Quality Commission. As part of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (HSCA 2008) the CQC must produce guidance to help care providers to comply with the regulations in the Act.

We were looking for references to First Aid provision for care staff, and were somewhat surprised that we couldn’t find any mention of it anywhere in the guidance.

So we emailed the CQC and asked them if there was indeed ‘…any requirement to have a member of staff with First Aid training on site at all times?

This was their initial response.

‘…in terms of a Nursing Home there will always be a medical professional on site due to the nature of the service.

Both a Residential Home and a Nursing Home will need to adhere to the Health and Safety Executive with relation to having a first aider on site and ensure they meet Regulation 12: Safe Care and Treatment.

For delivering life support CQC would always advise to seek medical assistance and call the paramedics as soon as possible.’ CQC

Not a ‘Yes’ then.

So, we asked the Heath and Safety Executive what their rules are. This is what they said;

‘There is no legal obligation for care homes to make first-aid provision for non-employees, such as those residents and visitors, but it clearly makes sense to include residents and others when thinking about the overall level of first-aid provision needed.’ H&SE

So, Care Homes (read also Nursing Homes) are, quite rightly, required to ensure they meet their First Aid obligations to ensure the safety of the people that work in the care or nursing home.

But not for the residents.

We went back to the CQC highlighting this point and advising them that nothing in Regulation 12 says anything about needing a First Aid trained person for the residents. They replied;

‘We would expect that services complete a risk assessment at their service and confirm what training their staff need for the service to run safely. And this would be covered by regulation 12. We do not set requirements for what training each service should give its staff and this would include first aid certificates in nursing homes.’

In summary then, there is no requirement to have any First Aid trained on site at any time.

In Early Years settings (Pre-schools and Nurseries, child-minders etc) it is a mandatory requirement to have a Paediatric First Aid trained person on site at all times, and also any trips outside of the the setting.

But not in a care and nursing home.