July 1, 2020


Healthcare assistants (HCAs) work in hospital or community settings, such as GP surgeries, under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional. The role can be varied depending upon the healthcare setting.

Most commonly, HCAs work alongside nurses and are sometimes known as nursing auxiliaries or auxiliary nurses. HCAs also work alongside qualified midwives in maternity services.

The types of duties include the following:

  • Washing and dressing
  • serving patients meals and assisting with feeding when necessary
  • helping people to mobilise
  • toileting
  • bed making
  • generally assisting with patients’ overall comfort
  • monitoring patients’ conditions by taking temperatures, pulse, respirations and weight

Nursing HCAs usually work a 37.5 hour week on a shift or rota system, typically including nights and weekends Part-time and flexible working is often available.

Healthcare science

An HCA may also work alongside some healthcare scientists, for example with audiologists, helping them to investigate and treat diseases.

Healthcare assistants, working in healthcare science, work normal office hours or shifts, including evenings and weekends, depending on their particular role and specialism. Part-time and flexible working is often available.

Allied health professions

Clinical support workers (sometimes known as therapy assistants or therapy helpers) work alongside allied health professionals such as:

  • physiotherapists
  • radiographers
  • podiatrists
  • speech and language therapists
  • dietitians
  • occupational therapists.

Duties will depend on the form of therapy but are likely to include:

  • preparing patients for their therapy
  • setting up equipment to use in the session/treatment
  • assisting the therapist in the treatment itself
  • contributing to record keeping