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Healthcare assistant HCA jobs: frequently asked questions
Welcome to our healthcare assistant HCA 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 or HCAs work under the guidance of a healthcare professional such as a nurse or doctor, and their role is all about making patients as comfortable as possible.
They monitor patients’ conditions, provide care and support, and assist with washing and eating.
Healthcare assistants work in hospitals, health centres, GP surgeries, specialist clinics and other community settings in both the NHS and the private sector. Because their working remit is broad, they can operate within almost any care setting.
What daily duties does a HCA carry out?
Healthcare assistants are vital all-rounders within various care settings, helping to carry out a huge range of tasks every day. On a basic level, these normally include:
• Washing, feeding and dressing patients
• Monitoring patients’ health and happiness
• Sterilising equipment
• Cleaning and making beds
• Processing samples
• Assisting nurses and doctors
However, the role of healthcare assistants is definitely expanding as various healthcare providers become increasingly overstretched.
Working hours are often very flexible and shift-based, and will likely include evenings, weekends and unsocial hours.
What skills and qualifications do you need to become a healthcare assistant?
No formal qualifications are required to become a healthcare assistant.
You’ll need good literacy and communications skills, and some providers may ask for GCSEs in English and maths. It’s possible that you’ll need a small amount of healthcare experience too, even if it’s just on a voluntary basis.
In terms of personal skills, above all you will need to be caring, emotionally resilient and extremely patient. You’ll need energy and a ceaseless work ethic for what can be a really testing job.
If and when you want to develop your career, the NCFE CACHE level 2 and 3 certificates in healthcare support will help. These can normally be taken as an apprenticeship through your employer.
Thereafter, HCAs often join the Royal College of Nursing as health practitioner members.
How much are healthcare assistants paid?
Pay varies depending on your seniority and the setting in which you work.
Overall, the average salary for a HCA is probably somewhere between £18,000 and £21,000 a year.
In the NHS, 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 rises to Band 3 if you become a senior HCA.
In the private sector, the average is much harder to pinpoint but industry stats suggest it’s around £17,000 to £18,000 a year.
Given the expanding duties of healthcare assistants (it was recently reported that they carry out as much as 60% of patient care), there is a growing argument for HCAs to get far more financial reward for all their hard work.
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.