• 26 August 2020
  • 8 min read

The Healthcare Assistant Pay And Salary Guide

  • Mat Martin
    Content Manager
    • Richard Gill
    • Mat Martin
    • Aubrey Hollebon
  • 0
  • 284
"The majority of Healthcare Assistants work in the NHS, where salaries start at just over £18,000 a year."

If you’ve ever thought about becoming a Healthcare Assistant, here we take a look what you could earn, how pay differs between the NHS and private sector and how you can increase your pay as a HCA.

Topics covered in this article

Introduction

What Is The Average Pay For A Healthcare Assistant?

What Does A Healthcare Assistant Do?

How Does The Role Differ Between The NHS And The Private Sector?

How Is Pay Determined In The NHS And How Much Does A Healthcare Assistant Get Paid?

How Is Pay Determined In The Private Sector And How Much Does A Healthcare Assistant Get Paid?

What’s Next For Healthcare Assistant Pay?

How To Get A Pay Rise As A Healthcare Assistant?

What Roles Are Available For A Healthcare Assistant?

What Is The Career Progression For A Healthcare Assistant?

Interested In Becoming A Healthcare Assistant?

Introduction

Healthcare Assistants, often referred to as HCAs, work in hospitals, health centres, GP surgeries and other community settings in both the NHS and the private sector.

Because there are no set entry requirements, it’s a great way of starting your healthcare career or getting a better idea of what it’s like and how much it suits you.

Here’s a guide to what you can expect to earn, what the role might entail, and what the future might hold as a HCA.

What Is The Average Pay For A Healthcare Assistant?

The average pay for a Healthcare Assistant is probably somewhere between £18,000 and £21,000 a year.

The majority of Healthcare Assistants work in the NHS, where salaries start at just over £18,000 a year.

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With experience, these salaries can rise to £21,000 a year and beyond.

In the private sector, the average is much harder to track but industry statistics suggest it’s around £17,000 to £18,000 a year.

What Does A Healthcare Assistant Do?

Healthcare Assistants work under the guidance of a healthcare professional such as a Nurse, and their aim is to make patients as comfortable as possible.

Day-to-day duties depend on the setting, which can be within a hospital or in the community.

But broadly, you can expect to:

• Wash and dress patients

• Monitor patients’ conditions

• Sterilise equipment

• Clean and make beds

• Serve meals and assist with feeding

• Process samples

However, it’s often suggested that the role of Healthcare Assistants has expanded over recent years – and unfortunately, not always with the recognition that extra responsibility deserves.

As the NHS has got busier, so too have HCAs, carrying out duties like heart checks that should always be supervised by registered professionals.

As well as Nurses, HCAs work with Doctors, Midwives and many other healthcare professionals.

Working hours are often flexible but shift-based, and can include evenings and weekends.

But again, your rota will depend largely on where you work.

How Does The Role Differ Between The NHS And The Private Sector?

The role of a Healthcare Assistant is very similar in the NHS and the private sector.

The nature of your work and the fundamental aim varies little.

However, private sector healthcare institutions tend to be less busy than NHS equivalents.

This can often mean that your overall workload is a little lighter, and in some cases, a bit less stressful.

Private sector hospitals aren’t regulated in the same way the NHS is, so can vary from one to the next.

Meanwhile, every NHS role you could have as an HCA could seem very similar.

But ultimately, this is a career where you could easily switch between public and private sector and find fulfilling work in both cases.

How Is Pay Determined In The NHS And How Much Does A Healthcare Assistant Get Paid?

Healthcare Assistants in the NHS are paid under the banding system that governs all NHS employee pay.

There are 9 bandings in all, and HCAs start their careers at Band 2 – which currently comes with a starting salary of £18,005.

With experience, this salary can increase to £19,337.

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Healthcare Assistants who become experienced and qualified enough can become Senior Healthcare Assistants or Assistant Practitioners, which are Band 3 and Band 4 roles respectively.

Band 3 roles start at £19,337, and Band 4 roles start at £21,892.

In the NHS, rising to a higher band almost always requires gaining new experiences or qualifications in order to apply for a new role.

How Is Pay Determined In The Private Sector And How Much Does A Healthcare Assistant Get Paid?

In the private sector, Healthcare Assistant salaries aren’t regulated.

NHS pay is widely seen as a benchmark, but private institutions often pay lower or higher salaries.

The average HCA salary in the private sector is somewhere around £17,000 or £18,000 – but this is at best an educated guess.

Lower annual salaries are common, as are salaries well over £20,000.

But your experience and qualifications will matter.

As is always the case in the private sector, prospective employees can negotiate their pay – and commanding a higher salary becomes far easier with lots of experience.

What’s Next For Healthcare Assistant Pay?

It’s widely agreed that pay isn’t at the mark it should be given the vital contribution HCAs make to patient care.

UNISON reported that Healthcare Assistants carry out 60% of patient care, which makes the stagnantly low salaries all the more concerning.

It’s an issue that’s regularly been brought into the public consciousness, and that’s meant that the government is starting to take notice too.

When NHS pay bandings are announced, it’s hoped they will reflect the rising tide of discontent among HCAs.

However, with budget problems throughout the NHS, there is no guarantee that future salaries will be high enough.

How To Get A Pay Rise As A Healthcare Assistant?

For the majority of HCAs who work in the NHS, getting a pay rise is about gaining new experience and qualifications, and applying for more senior roles in higher bandings.

The two major qualifications to look out for are the NCFE CACHE level 2 and 3 certificates for healthcare support.

These can normally be studied for while you’re working, and your employer may well help you.

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Subsequently, HCAs often join the Royal College of Nursing as health practitioner members.

All of this can help to upskill and increase your chances of climbing the bandings or, in the private sector, ask for more money.

Beyond this, gaining as much varied experience as possible will stand you in good stead.

If you have the opportunity, try to work in different care settings and meet lots of different healthcare professionals.

What Roles Are Available For A Healthcare Assistant?

Healthcare Assistants can apply for hospital HCA roles, or positions in GP surgeries, clinics or other community settings.

Broadly speaking, there are HCA roles within any patient-facing healthcare organisation.

HCAs also often make the move into care homes, becoming what’s commonly known as a Carer or Care Assistant.

Equally, other entry-level or administrative positions within these types of facilities can easily be occupied by Healthcare Assistants, as their experience will prove invaluable.

What Is The Career Progression For A Healthcare Assistant?

Becoming a Healthcare Assistant is a really solid foundation for building all kinds of healthcare careers.

Many Healthcare Assistants go on to become Senior Healthcare Assistants, Assistant Practitioners or Nursing Associates, while others choose to become Nurses and Midwives.

Indeed, many Nurses decide to work as Healthcare Assistants while they study, not only for the income but for the insights they can gain into Nursing.

Additionally, if you build a career as a Healthcare Assistant and become a trusted member of an NHS trust’s workforce, there is every chance that they will support you through your studies.

Interested In Becoming A Healthcare Assistant?

If you’re interested in finding your very first position as a HCA, register with us today and we can send you a selection of the very latest roles.

Let me know in the comments your thoughts on becoming a Healthcare Assistant and what I've said about pay.

Oh, and please Like this article to let me know you enjoyed it - thank you!

About the author

  • Mat Martin
    Content Manager

I have a background in visual media and film content. I'm now developing other content delivery skills, and am enjoying talking to people in health and social care who want to contribute and feel passionate about what they do. I’m constantly struck by the quality and feeling in the articles we receive from them, and I aim to ensure the readers are too.

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About the author

  • Mat Martin
    Content Manager

I have a background in visual media and film content. I'm now developing other content delivery skills, and am enjoying talking to people in health and social care who want to contribute and feel passionate about what they do. I’m constantly struck by the quality and feeling in the articles we receive from them, and I aim to ensure the readers are too.

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