Linen services staff are the hidden heroes of the NHS. They make sure that hospital departments have stocks of clean uniforms and linen, such as sheets and towels, for patients.
Training and qualifications required
There are no set entry requirements for linen services assistants. Employers expect a good standard of numeracy and literacy and may ask for GCSEs in English and maths. They may also ask for relevant qualifications in hotel services or health care and experience of linen or laundry work or healthcare which could be from paid or voluntary work. Team leaders and managers have usually worked in linen services. When you start work as a linen services assistant you will get the training you need. You may be offered the opportunity to take qualifications in, for example, laundry services.
Expected working hours and salary range
Linen services staff working in the NHS are paid on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay system. As a laundry assistant, linen room assistant or sewing room assistant, you would typically start on AfC band 2. With further training and experience, you could apply for more senior positions, including supervisor positions at band 3. Linen services staff in the NHS work standard hours of around 37.5 a week. They may work shifts including early starts and evenings as well as weekends and bank holidays. Terms and conditions will usually be different for linen services staff working outside of the NHS.
Desirable skills and values
Linen services staff need to be able to follow instructions and procedures carefully, very health and safety aware, physically fit for lifting, packing and moving trolleys, able to use initiative, willing to take responsibility for their own work and able to work in a team. They also need good organisational and teamwork skills.
With experience, laundry assistants could become team leaders, supervising a team of assistants. With further experience, they could progress to become managers, responsible for a department or area. They could move into other areas such as facilities management.