Healthcare Support Worker Development Programme

The Healthcare Support Worker Development (HCSWD) programme was established by NHS Professionals (NHSP) as a means to help Trusts with excessive agency cost to cover gaps in the positions of healthcare support workers and healthcare associates.

In collaboration with the Trust, NHSP recruits people from the local community to train for a role in which they will provide safe, guaranteed care and support. Local recruitment campaigns encourage local people to apply, who are then interviewed and tested before attending an induction course to cover mandatory basic training skills. Trainees are then released to the ward and trained by ward staff to meet their requirements. Each trainee agrees to work a minimum number of hours each week through the bank and the Trust provides on the job training. The Trust staff decide when trainees are ready to complete the course following a minimum number of hours in role.

The Care Certificate was introduced by NHS England in 2015 and graduates from the course are expected to attain that standard.

Facts and figures

Since its inception in 2012, the programme has been adopted by 47 NHS Trusts and is currently deployed at 39 Trusts. As of June 2019, more than 3,500 people have been trained to meet the expected standard and since 2015, graduates have been awarded the Care Certificate. More than three quarters are still working shifts at their Trust through the NHSP bank. By the end of June 2019, more than 3million hours of care had been delivered by the programme.

Anecdotal evidence from Trusts that deploy the programme show that it delivers well trained heath care assistants who provide invaluable support to clinical staff and patients. Hard evidence shows that Trusts save money on every shift that would have otherwise been worked by an agency care support worker. To date, we estimate that the programme has saved £9 million in agency costs. The HCSWD graduates account for more than a third of all bank hours worked by healthcare assistants.