Use of unregulated healthcare workers: Conclusion

The challenge for many healthcare systems is to provide access to appropriate care for those who need it. An increasing trend in many countries where there are shortages of professional care givers or where the costs for such are high is to use unregulated healthcare workers to provide some of the services. This paper thus purposed to evaluate the benefits and drawbacks associated with the use of these unregulated care providers.

The main reason for use of UCPs was advanced to be the shortage of professional healthcare providers. With these shortages resulting from either inadequacy of trained personnel to meet care needs or migration of these from places where their care is needed to where the services can be afforded; UCPs have proved an alternative that has brought better outcomes for those needing care in many countries. The second probable benefit for use of UCPs has been advanced as reduction in cost since they offer their services at lower fees than the professional alternatives. This however has been contested on the basis of the training costs and other adjustment costs that arise in order to maintain the standard of care needed.

As such, the quality and safety of care are the main drawbacks associated with use of UCPs. Since the UHWs do not have a unified training, vetting and regulatory system; the care they offer may not meet the required standards. It has for instance been noted that in most cases nurses working with UCPs may spend most of their time in supervision than providing care. Despite such being the case in some instances where there are shortages of nurses or the subjects cannot afford constant care provision from professionals, UCPs could prove the only way for these to assess reasonable care. What therefore should be the focus is harmonizing the training and supervision of UCPs and strengthening the guidelines for delegation of tasks and procedures by professionals so as to better outcomes for the people needing care.

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