Healthcare Support Workers (HCSWs) may also be known as Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) or Support Workers. As a Healthcare Support Worker, there are countless career prospects and unique opportunities to help improve people's health. There are 30 different Healthcare Support Worker roles you can choose from in seven areas of the NHS, including mental health, primary care, maternity, and children’s services. For example, you could be dietic assistant helping patients with nutrition or prosthetic technician helping patients become more mobile. All these roles help improve the lives of others. This entry-level role is an integral part of becoming a nurse and can lead to many career opportunities.


These are the most common healthcare support worker duties:

  • Being the primary caregiver for patients, making sure they feel relaxed and comforted. This may include making cups of tea and good conversation 

  • Acting as a nurse's assistant, monitoring patients’ conditions by regularly checking their temperature, pulse, breathing, and weight  

  • Helping patients move around, eat, wash, and dress 

  • Sterilising equipment 

  • Taking blood samples and processing lab samples 

Career progression

Working as a healthcare assistant in the NHS will help you develop the skills necessary to become a medical professional, such as a registered nurse. As an healthcare support worker, you'll have hands-on experience with patient care and receive advice for future roles from your experienced colleagues. You'll also learn many soft skills such as communicating effectively; managing work under time pressures; and teamwork, which are useful outside of the health and social care sector. Career opportunities from this role include:

  • Being paid by the NHS to train to take a qualification and become a registered nurse (no previous educational qualifications are required) 

  • Specialising in a health practice such as radiography, mental health care, or maternity care 

  • Desk-based roles such as improving the health service, admin roles, or research 

  • Transitioning to social care, such as working as a care assistant

Key information

  • Typical salary: £18,500 to £21,700 (37.5 hours per week) 

  • Often includes shift work (days, nights, weekends, bank holidays)

  • No qualifications or prior experience needed, including GSCEs, A-Levels, or BTECs

  • You must have the right to work in the UK 

  • You must be willing to wear a face mask during shifts 

  • Up to 27 days annual leave

  • Eligible for NHS worker discounts

Prince's Trust young person Megan, Healthcare Support Worker for the NHS, standing in front of Movement to Work backboard holding medal
"I'm so glad I had help from The Prince’s Trust otherwise I wouldn't be where I am today and on my way to getting the career I’ve always wanted" Megan