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Health Care Support Workers

What are Health Care Support Workers (HCSWs) and why do we need them?

Those who provide a direct service – that is they have a direct influence/effect on care and treatment to patients and members of the public and are supervised by and/or undertake health care duties delegated to them by NMC registrants.’ Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC 2006)

To find out more about about a career in the NHS as a Health Care Support Worker, watch this video.

Scope of Practice

The scope of practice for HCSWs can vary from Practice to Practice; healthcare support workers can undertake non-autonomous tasks.  As part of the Thames Valley Health Care Support Worker programme, we have refined a portfolio to support the scope of practice for HCSWs.

Education Paths to Qualification

In 2017, Health Education England announced educational reform, regulating a qualification framework through an apprenticeship model of delivery.  As a result, Health Care Support Worker training is now becoming standardised throughout the NHS and Health Education England are developing new roles and standards for the support workforce. To support these changes, the HCA framework has been updated so HCSWs continue to develop the right skills and competencies via an educational pathway.

The Thames Valley HCSW programme is aimed at developing a standardised educational pathway to support those new to health care support work to acquire the necessary competences, and to provide more experienced health care support workers the opportunity of developing their skills and knowledge.

Name of Level Relevant for / pre-requisites
Level One: This training is appropriate for new HCSWs with no previous clinical experience.  The Care certificate forms part of this level.
Level Two: Training is appropriate for HCSWs who have six to nine months’ experience and are competent at foundation level clinical competencies.

The Care certificate must have been completed prior to starting.

Level Three: Training is appropriate for HCSWs who have twelve to eighteen months’ experience and have the Level 2 Apprenticeship.

The Care certificate must have been completed prior to starting.

Level Four: Training is appropriate for HCSWs who have more than two years’ experience and have the Level 3 Senior Health Care Support Worker Qualification:

·     Aspiring new emerging roles

·     Aspiring Healthcare Assistant Practitioner

·     Aspiring Nurse Associate

The Care certificate must have been completed prior to starting.

How to access HCSW training

  1. Speak to your Practice and review the levels from the table above that you would like to complete
  2. Complete an HCSW Application Form and email it to Berkshire West Training Hub
  3. If your application is successful, we will email you your portfolio and the instructions (including codes) to access the e-learning modules.  It’s that simple!

Useful Links and Resources for HCSWs

World Health Organization
The WHO Global vaccine safety initiative provides links to web sites which meet agreed standards on what is good information.

See: Vaccine safety websites meeting good information practices criteria.

The Vaccine safety Net provides further information and links to WHO validated web sites and reputable sources of evidence related to vaccines and vaccine preventable disease.

BMA vaccinations and immunisation guidance

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS)
The CfPS and Sanofi Pasteur MSK, have developed resources to support local authorities scrutinise immunisation services:
10 questions guide to scrutinising immunisation services

The report includes:
case studies of best practice
European Centre for disease prevention and control

Health Protection Scotland

HSC Public Health Agency Northern Ireland: health protection

International Longevity Centre – Immuneresponse
Adult immunisation in the UK

Meningitis Research Foundation
Has a range of information about meningitis and septicaemia.

Vital Signs Vital Issues
Is a useful resource and includes answers to many of the questions parents frequently ask about vaccination.

National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (Australia)
Have developed the Sharing Knowledge about immunisation portal with tailored communication and information resources.

The SKAI website for parents also contains information and videos for parents. The portal for health care professionals is in development.

Health information and self-care advice for Scotland.

NHS Choices: The NHS vaccination schedule
Information from the NHS choices web site can be printed off to give to patients.

PHE immunisations and Covid 19

Shingles slide set

NHS Flu guidance

PHE – Immunisation against infectious diseaseWessex LMC Flu operational plan

Patient Specific Directions
LMC Wessex info on PSDs.


Berkshire West Training Hub