Health Care Assistants (HCA), sometimes also referred to as Health Care Support Workers, make sure the patient’s experience is as comfortable and stress-free as possible. This role can also be the stepping stone into many other NHS roles.
You will work under the guidance of a healthcare professional such as a nursing associate or a registered nurse and your job will vary depending on where you are based. In a health centre and GP surgery, your duties may include:
Carrying out health checks
Restocking consulting rooms
Processing lab samples
Taking blood samples
Health promotion or health education work
There are no set entry requirements to becoming a HCA.
Sometimes, employers will expect good literacy and numeracy and may ask for GCSEs (or equivalent) in English and maths. They may also sometimes ask for a healthcare qualification, such as BTEC or NVQ.
Employers can also expect you to have some experience of healthcare or care work. This could be from paid or voluntary work.
View available apprenticeships in healthcare that can give you experience to apply for HCA posts.
Your training as a healthcare assistant will include basic nursing skills and you'll work towards the Care Certificate, developed by Skills for Care, Skills for Health and Health Education England and launched in 2015. Find out more about the Care Certificate.
You may also be offered the chance to study for qualifications through an apprenticeship such as:
The NCFE CACHE level 2 Certificate in Healthcare Support Services
The NCFE CACHE level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support
With experience and further training, you could become a senior healthcare assistant. You could then apply to train as an assistant practitioner or nursing associate. With the appropriate qualifications/evidence of academic ability, you could also train as one of the many degree-level healthcare professionals such as a nursing associate.
Please see below a recommended training provider which offers training tailored to HCAs. Prices range from £170-£299.