2 Accountability

As a healthcare assistant you are responsible for the quality of your work and the decisions that you make. Being accountable means that you have to take responsibility for the consequences of your actions and behaviour at all times, even when you are very junior and new to a job. If your actions lead to poor-quality or unsafe care you can be held to account or even disciplined.

You should be careful not to undertake any care which you are not able to do, or for which you have not yet received the specific training. You should only carry out tasks for which you have knowledge and skill (that is, that you are competent to do). You must recognise and acknowledge the limits of your abilities, and if you are asked to do anything that you are not able to do you should tell your supervisor straight away. These are important points and are embedded in the Code of Conduct for healthcare workers in England, along with making sure you can answer for your actions or omissions (Skills for Care/Skills for Health, 2013). The following points on being accountable (from Section 1 of the Code of Conduct) are relevant to the healthcare assistant role.

You must:

  • be honest with yourself and others about what you can do, recognise your abilities and the limitations of your competence, and only carry out or delegate those tasks agreed in your job description and for which you are competent
  • be able to justify and be accountable for your actions or your omissions – what you fail to do
  • always ask your supervisor or employer for guidance if you do not feel able or adequately prepared to carry out any aspect of your work, or if you are unsure how to effectively deliver a task
  • tell your supervisor or employer about any issues that might affect your ability to do your job competently and safely. If you do not feel competent to carry out an activity, you must report this
  • comply with your employer’s agreed ways of working.
(Skills for Care and Skills for Health, 2013)