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What is a healthcare assistant?

Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) work within a range of hospital or community settings, often working alongside healthcare professionals in their role. The nature of this position mainly depends on the place of work – a HCA could be working in hospitals, the community, General Practice (GP) surgeries or mental health services.

What is the role of a healthcare assistant?

The typical day-to-day role of a healthcare assistant includes:

  • Personal care of the patient – supporting their hygiene, comfort and safety
  • Prioritising infection prevention
  • Promoting positive mental health
  • Ensuring their nutritional needs are met
  • Aiding with clinical duties
  • Checking and ordering supplies

In a hospital setting, your role may entail:

  • Making beds
  • Monitoring patient conditions by checking their pulse, temperature, weight and respirations
  • Wash and dress patients
  • Serve meals and help to feed patients
  • Help people to move around

In health centres and GP surgeries, your role may extend to:

  • Sterilising equipment
  • Doing health checks
  • Processing lab samples
  • Taking blood pressure
  • Health promotion work
  • Restocking consulting rooms

Healthcare assistants are often the first port of call for patients, so they need to have strong interpersonal skills. You will need to have a hands-on attitude as you will often have to conduct a number of tasks during a small period of time. Whilst you will be working in a team, displaying a great initiative is a necessity, in addition to having excellent observational and organisational skills.

Healthcare assistant training

To become a healthcare assistant, having an alternative NVQ/BTEC is desirable. You will work towards a Care Certificate, and may also be offered the chance to study for qualifications such as:

  • NCFE CACHE Level 2 Certificate in Healthcare Support Services
  • NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support

To apply for HCA jobs, you will need experience in a healthcare setting and further training, such as Early Warning System (NEWS /PARS). If you wish to become a healthcare assistant in Northern Ireland or Scotland, you will be required to register with the SSSC.

How much does a healthcare assistant get paid?  

The average salary for a healthcare assistant in the UK is £24,449 per annum – however, senior HCAs can earn in the region of £31,000. If you are just starting in this position, you can expect a salary of around £18,000. It’s important to note that these figures are a rough estimate of the average salary, and your pay will likely depend on your location.

Quite often, a typical standard working week for an HCA will be around 37.5 hours and will include a mixture of morning, afternoon and night shifts.

Opportunities for progression

With further studies, HCAs have the opportunity to progress to other allied healthcare professions such as nursing, midwifery, dieticians, learning disabilities and many other positions.

If you are looking for healthcare positions, you should consider joining The Guild, or contact us online for more information today.

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Ayo johnson
Ayo johnson
9 months ago

Great i would like to join your guild am an healthcare worker who has worked in hospital like mater hospital

9 months ago
Reply to  Ayo johnson

That’s great to hear you are interested in joining The Guild. Please start the application process here.

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