Support for the definition of Core Competences 4 HealthCare Assistants
In many Member States, the importance of healthcare assistants (HCAs) is growing. Against the threat of potential shortages of HCAs, the need for a European recognition of this profession, its training, competences, tasks and responsibilities is growing. A common position on the (minimal) set of knowledge, skills and competences of HCAs is needed as the base for a suggestion of a Common Training Framework (CFT) for HCAs. If this can be reached, Member States can collaborate on the training, recruitment and mobility of HCAs. This will contribute to a workforce policy to achieve a balanced allocation of HCA capacity within and between Member States and can contribute to the creation of a system of the automatic recognition for cross-border mobility of HCAs.
- Full title: Core Competences 4 HealthCare Assistants, support for the definition
- Deliverables: see publications on the right
- Funding: the Seventh Framework Programme, an EC funded project
- Project partners: 10 countries across Europe
- Nivel experts: Prof. Ronald Batenburg PhD, Johan Hansen PhD
- Nivel involvement: lead partner
- International project website: -
The aim of the CC4HCA Study is to explore the interest among all EU Member States of the European Union in developing a common position on the skills, knowledge and competences of health care assistants (HCAs) in Europe.
The study ‘Support for the definition of core competences for healthcare assistants’ (CC4HCA) is funded by the European Commission’s Health Programme 2014.
See our publications on the right. Upon sufficient interest this can be translated in a suggestion for a common training framework (CTF) under the EU Directive on the recognition of Professional Qualifications.
The study investigates the consensus among representatives from the EU Member States, and hence the feasibility for a CTF for HCAs in Europe. The common position and definition of HCA skills, knowledge and competences needs to be supported by competent authorities and professional organizations that are able and willing to define the skills, knowledge and competences of health care assistants in their country.
Project design and planning
This study builds upon earlier work of a pilot Network of Nurse Educators and Regulators (‘Creating a Pilot Network of Nurse Educators and Regulators‘ (SANCO/1/2009)) which was finalized in 2013. The report of this study and additional information can be found on the following website: http://www.hca.network.eu.
The study will run for 18 months and will consist of 4 main steps:
- The current situation of health care assistants in all Member States will be mapped building upon previously collected data (Spring/summer 2015);
- Representative national and European professional organizations (or competent authorities) will be approached to identify the stakeholders interested in working on a suggestion for a common training framework for HCAs (Spring/summer 2015);
- A Delphi study will be conducted among professional organisations (or competent authorities) to explore the shared vision on the core skills, knowledge and competences of health care assistants (Autumn 2015).
- The results of this study will be taken further into a two-day workshop organized in spring 2016 in Brussels.
On a regular basis a news bulletin are published:
- News bulletin 1 (July 2015)
- News bulletin 2 (December 2015)
- News bulletin 3 March 2016)
- News bulletin 4 September 2016)
The consortium is lead by Nivel, the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research. Members of the consortium are:
- KUL - Catholic University Leuven (Belgium)
- MESZK - Chamber of Hungarian Health Care Professionals (Hungary)
Use of the term 'healthcare assistent'
In this project, healthcare assistants are not defined by one line or reference, as this can greatly vary between countries. As a starting point, the definitions provided by the International Standard Classification of Occupational (ISCO) are used:
“Healthcare assistants provide assistance, support and direct personal care to patients and residents in a variety of institutional settings such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and aged care facilities. They generally work in support of health professionals or associate professionals.”
In addition, ISCO's definition ‘Nursing Associate Professionals’ is closely related:
“Nursing associate professionals provide care for the sick and injured, and those in need of nursing care due to disability or age. They usually work in support of nursing and midwifery professionals and medical doctors.”
For more information on this study, contact one of Nivel experts:
What can we do for you?
For more information about Nivel as a partner in healthcare services research, please feel free to contact our manager International Projects Inge van Houdt PhD. We are looking forward to getting in touch with you.