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Healthcare assistant jobs: frequently asked questions
Welcome to our healthcare assistant jobs page, featuring all the latest jobs throughout the country as well as frequently asked questions below.
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.
They monitor patients’ conditions, provide care and support, and assist with washing and eating.
Often referred to as HCAs, healthcare assistants work in hospitals, health centres, GP surgeries and other community settings in both the NHS and the private sector.
What daily responsibilities does a healthcare assistant have?
Healthcare assistants are vitally important to the efficient running of wards and healthcare facilities, and they tend to carry out a very wide range of tasks. These can include:
• Washing, feeding and dressing patients
• Monitoring patients’ conditions
• Sterilising equipment
• Cleaning and making beds
• Processing samples
• Assisting nurses and other healthcare professionals
However, it’s often noted that the role of healthcare assistants is expanding as they take on more and more duties in overstretched hospital wards.
Working hours are usually flexible and shift-based, and can include evenings and weekends. But ultimately your rota will depend on where you work.
What skills and qualifications do you need to become a healthcare assistant?
There are no set entry requirements for becoming a healthcare assistant.
You’ll normally need good literacy and communication skills, and some providers will ask for GCSEs in English and maths.
In terms of personal skills, you’ll need to be caring, compassionate, resilient, patient and have lots of energy. It’s a demanding job and to get the most out of it you’ll need to really be inspired by helping people.
Beyond entry-level positions, the two major qualifications for development are the NCFE CACHE level 2 and 3 certificates in healthcare support. These can normally be studied for while you’re working, and your employer may well support you through an apprenticeship.
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 earning more money.
How much will you earn as a healthcare assistant?
Healthcare assistant pay can vary depending on experience and whether you work in the public or private sector.
Overall, 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. With experience, these salaries can rise to £21,000 a year and beyond. It’s a Band 2 role, which can increase to Band 3 if you become a senior healthcare assistant.
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.
Given the expanding duties of HCAs (it was recently reported that they carry out as much as 60% of patient care), pressure is building for salaries to be increased more generously.
Find your next healthcare assistant job today
View our latest healthcare assistant jobs above, or if you can’t find what you’re looking for, register your CV and we’ll send you the latest roles as soon as we get them.