Healthcare Support Worker

What is a Healthcare Support Worker?

Healthcare support workers work across a variety of settings, from mental health to children’s services. As a healthcare support worker, you’ll work under the supervision of a healthcare professional, supporting them and helping patients on their journey back to full health.

The opportunities to progress are endless; you can choose to specialise in a particular setting, or train to qualify as a healthcare professional, such as a nurse or midwife. In some trusts, healthcare support workers have slightly different job titles such as healthcare assistant (or HCA), nursing assistant, clinical support worker or midwifery assistant, depending on your chosen setting and the healthcare professionals you support.

To view and apply for live vacancies please visit the individual trust websites listed at the bottom of this page.

Working life

It’s a hands-on role – one minute you could be taking blood and the next lending an ear to an anxious patient – but it’s one of the most rewarding. Your day-to-day will vary depending on which part of the NHS you’re working in. For example, if you’re based in a hospital your duties may include:

  • helping patients to move around.

  • monitoring patients and performing basic health checks

  • making patients feel comfortable.

  • washing and dressing patients.

  • serving meals and helping to feed patients.

If you’re based in a health centre or GP surgery, you may:

  • perform health checks

  • take blood samples

  • process lab samples

  • sterilise equipment

  • restock consulting rooms

  • undertake health promotion and education work

No matter which area you choose to work in, being a healthcare support worker is a key role that’s at the very heart of healthcare.

Entry requirements and skills needed

There are no set entry requirements to become a healthcare support worker, but good literacy and numeracy skills are expected. We can also help support you in gaining the necessary English and maths GCSE (or equivalent) qualifications if you do not already have these.

"It isn't all about experience and qualifications. What’s really important is having the right values, behaviours and attitudes to work effectively with people who need care and support."

But academic qualifications aren’t everything. You’ll also need to be caring, kind and willing to really get stuck into the role – it’s a hands-on environment where teamwork, communication and organisational skills are vital.

Training and career development

As a healthcare support worker, you’ll have access to world-class training and learn basic nursing skills. You’ll also work towards gaining qualifications and may have the opportunity to do an apprenticeship. But that’s not all. You’ll gain plenty of on-the-job experience and be surrounded by experts who’ll support you as you progress through your career. And with regular check-ins to discuss your career aspirations, you’ll always be moving forward.

Pay and benefits

Your standard working week will be around 37.5 hours and may include a mix of shifts, such as nights, early starts, evenings and weekends. As a healthcare support worker, you’ll be paid on the Agenda for Change (AFC) pay system, typically starting on band 2. Please note that pay will vary in primary care settings.

You’ll also have access to our generous pension scheme and health service discounts, as well as 27 days of annual leave, plus bank holidays, which increases the longer you’re in service.

A variety of settings

Healthcare support workers typically work in one of seven settings.

  • Mental health - helping with the care, treatment and recovery of patients.

  • Community - working with GPs and nursing teams to deliver and manage care in a patient’s home or community-based healthcare setting.

  • Primary Care - assessing new patients and supporting the wider GP surgery medical and nursing team.

  • Acute - a hospital-based role supporting patients and managing daily activities.

  • Midwifery - working on the maternity ward, supporting new parents and their babies.

  • Children’s services - working with nurses to support outpatient clinics and school clinics.

  • Learning disability - helping people with learning disabilities or autism to learn new skills and reach a level of independence.

The above information has been taken from the Health Careers website

To view live vacancies please visit the individual trust websites listed below to apply

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust
  •  Lister Hospital, Stevenage

  • The New QEII Hospital, Welwyn Garden City

  • Hertford County Hospital

  • Mount Vernon Cancer Network, Northwood

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Watford General Hospital

  • St Albans City Hospital

  • Hemel Hempstead General Hospital

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust
  • The Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow

  • Herts and Essex Hospital, Bishops Stortford

  • St Margaret's Hospital, Epping

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust

Various community settings across Hertfordshire, including clinics, community hospitals and patient homes.

Hertfordshire Partnership University Foundation NHS Trust

Various mental health and learning disability services across Hertfordshire, including clinics, hospitals and patient homes.

Primary Care (GP Practices)

Various GP practices across Hertfordshire.

Case studies

case study image

John explains how starting in the NHS as an apprentice has changed his life

The role of a Care Support Worker is often challenging but always interesting, exciting and satisfying.

Read more
case study image

Alexi tells us how the nursing associate has helped her into a job she loves

The Nursing Associate Programme is a bridge between a Health Care Assistant and Registered Nurse.

Read more

Our Organisations

There are a wide range of different organisations that we represent across Hertfordshire and West Essex.


Interested in working for the NHS or social care? Find out about current vacancies and how to apply.