Offering helping hands on hospital wards

As a hospital porter, you would support patients by helping them to move around the hospital – to and from treatment areas.

You would help patients into wheelchairs or on to trolleys, take them to appointments and you could also carry out other duties such as:

l taking meals to patients

l transferring clean linen to wards from the laundry

l moving furniture and valuable or intricate equipment safely

l disposing of waste, which may be hazardous

l delivering post, files and specimens to different parts of the hospital

l moving patients who have died, from a ward and to the mortuary.

In some hospitals you would help with security, which could involve working on the reception desk.

You would work around 37.5 to 40 hours a week, including shifts and weekends. Part-time hours are often possible.

Your work could take you anywhere on the hospital site and your duties may be emotionally and physically demanding.

Starting salaries can be around £13,600 a year. With experience this can rise to around £16,700. Senior porters or team leaders can earn around £18,500.

There are additional payments for working overtime and shifts. Salaries in private hospitals are based on those in the NHS.

You do not usually need any qualifications to become a hospital porter, however, you will need good written and spoken communication skills. It could be an advantage to have a manual handling, or health and safety qualification.

Some employers will test your physical fitness when you apply for a porter’s job, which may include a medical.

Larger hospitals or trusts may prefer you to have a driving licence so you can work at a number of different sites during the day.

Experience of working with the public, especially in a caring role, would be particularly helpful. If you do not have relevant experience, you could learn about this role by volunteering in a hospital, helping the porter with his or her duties.

Contact the voluntary services coordinator or manager at your local NHS Trust for further advice.

You will usually receive training on the job, working alongside experienced colleagues.

You will also usually have a short induction course covering areas such as:

l general information about hospital procedures, practices and layout

l health and safety, and hygiene issues

l safe lifting techniques, moving and handling

l transporting equipment safely.

You could go on to work towards NVQ Level 2 in Support Services in Health Care.

For further information try

NHS Careers

PO Box 376


BS99 3EY

Tel: 0345 60 60 655

Health Learning and Skills Advice Line

Tel: 08000 150850

Related topics: