Sir Keith Pearson, Chairman of the NHS Confederation and an author of the report, said new recruits should be selected for their values, rather than technical skills. He told BBC Radio 4 that technical standards of care were fine, but "personal care" was lacking.
Very often its the cleaner who might be the person who spends those few minutes talking to a patient. Somone who is not necessarily trained in customer contact, but someone who has got the communication skills necessary.
The head of the Royal College of Nursing Peter Carter told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the lack of training that healthcare assistants go through is “wholly unacceptable”.
The vast majority of care for older people in hospitals is provided nowadays by health care assistants under the supervision of nurses ... In most cases, they don't have adequate training ... When we are caring for older people, we somehow think this can just be done with a bit of common sense.
He said the average ratio of registered nurses to elderly patients is one in 10, compared with one in four in children's nursing. His comments were in response to a report suggesting that older people are being "let down" by the standard of care.