Changes to First Aid regulations

At the end of this year the government plans to deregulate the provision of first aid training.  To some of you that might seem inconsequential but to McCrudden Training (and other professional first aid training organisations), we believe it’s a disaster!

Currently, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) accredit first aid training providers.  They review training plans, evaluate the qualifications and experience of trainers and assessors, and generally ensure that when you buy a training course from that provider it is the quality training your workplace needs.

The HSE recently announced that they would no longer undertake this function and would be looking at alternatives.  This makes sense.  The HSE are not an accreditation body.  They don’t accredit any other qualifications, and there are various organisations better suited to overseeing quality first aid training.

A number of organisations threw their hats into the ring to effectively licence first aid training providers, including FACT- the First Aid Council for Training (formerly known as the Association of Independent First Aid at Work Training Organisations).   As a first aid training provider who for a long time has delivered our first aid training in partnership with an HSE accredited training provider, Eastbourne-based McCrudden Training was so impressed with FACTs proposal to regulate first aid aid at work training providers that we were prepared to fund our own center approval for the first time ever.

Now the government have abandoned all plans to have any form of accredited first aid training provision.  The politicians say that they are implementing the recommendations of the Lofstedt report to cut threw regulatory red tape.  But we believe it creates more problems than it solves.  As well as calling for the removal of unnecessary regulation, the Lofstedt report criticised the number of under-qualified health and safety consultants in the marketplace (at the moment anyone can teach non-accredited health and safety courses and Lofstedt didn’t like that).  Removing accreditation of first aid training providers will create the same scenario in First Aid, and potentially damage the reputation of the industry.

So, what’s the deregulation of first aid training got to do with you?

But all that isn’t relevant to you is it?  Won’t it free you up to choose any (potentially more cost effective) training provider?  Well yes, but it will also place the onus for quality firmly on your shoulders when you’re buying the first aid training.

Under the new system, even my mum (sorry mum), could set herself up as a first aid trainer.  It will be up to the person who buys her services to confirm that she is teaching what she should, and has the appropriate qualifications, skills and knowledge to teach it – so you’ll have to check her out, instead of just looking for the ‘accredited trainer logo’.  Effectively, making you responsible for policing the training of first aid.

Now, there are lots of topics that anyone can train in; you can choose a trainer who offers accredited customer service or one that provides non-accredited training.   But first aid training has to be different.  People’s lives are at stake.  If the quality of your customer service training isn’t up to scratch, you’ll end up with the occasional upset customer, but no one dies.

And what if my mum (again sorry mum), misses something out or teaches something incorrectly, spinal injury for example.  At the moment, you would have been deemed to have selected a reasonable training provider if you’ve chosen an accredited provider, but take that away – could anyone injured by poor first aid practice sue you for booking a trainer that wasn’t of higher enough quality.

Calling a halt to deregulation

We don’t feel that deregulating first aid training is the way to go – especially when there isn’t even an overarching regulation of the wider training industry, like I said my mum could set herself up training pretty much anything with no experience or qualifications as a trainer.  At McCrudden Training we believe that this deregulation places too much onus (and liability) on the buyer of a training to understand how to vet a potential first aid training provider.  You shouldn’t have to do that.  A straight forward accreditation system should do that for you.

If you agree with us, please sign FACT’s e-petition here and let the government know that you want to see First Aid Training remain protected.