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Care Standards

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will review the effect of standard 31.7, within the National Minimum Standards of Care, on the ability of volunteers to assist with lifting the elderly. [125644]

[holding answer 14 July 2003]: I believe this question refers to standard 31.7 of the care homes for adults (18 to 65) standards, which says that volunteers should supplement and not replace paid staff and that volunteers should not undertake tasks which are the responsibility of paid staff. The equivalent standard in the care homes for older people standards is 36.5.The intention of these standards is to ensure that volunteers are not used to enable a care home to avoid employing suitably qualified, competent and experienced staff in numbers appropriate to meet the assessed needs of the residents. There is no intention in either standard to prevent volunteers assisting with lifting residents in the care home where this is appropriate and subject to the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 being taken into account.