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Drivers are at the heart of the NHS by making sure that our patients, goods and supplies are where they need to be at the right time.
Training and qualifications required
Drivers in the NHS have to have the correct driving licence for the vehicle they drive. Most employers expect you have a driving licence when you apply. NHS and ambulance service trusts use vehicles of different sizes, so check carefully which classifications you need on your licence. Employers expect good levels of numeracy and literacy and may ask for GCSEs (or equivalent) in English and maths. They may also ask for relevant driving or customer service experience (eg from paid or voluntary work). When you join the NHS you will get the training you need. This may depend on the type of driving you are doing and may include health and safety, lifting and handling and customer care. You may be expected to go on short courses on particular topics such as handling hazardous waste and may be encouraged to take further qualifications such as training to drive other vehicles.
Expected working hours and salary range
Drivers working for the NHS may be volunteers, and paid an allowance for using their vehicle. Drivers directly employed by the NHS will be paid on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay system. The salary will depend on your precise role - check vacancies individually for details. For example, as a PTS driver, you would be on AfC band 2 or 3. A driver for the Blood Transfusion Service would typically be on AfC band 3. Drivers in the NHS work standard hours of around 37.5 a week. Some may work shifts including early starts and evenings.
Desirable skills and values
NHS drivers need to be safe and careful drivers, physically fit for getting in and out of vehicles and loading and unloading, able to navigate around an area using sat nav or maps, able to keep to a schedule and willing to work unsupervised. They also need driving skills, good customer service skills, especially when dealing with patients, communication and organisation skills.
You could progress to become a team leader or supervisor. You would be in charge of a team of drivers, responsible for allocating work and drawing up transport schedules. Drivers can also progress by training to drive other vehicles. Drivers could apply to train for other roles such as an emergency care assistant or patient transport service (PTS) call handler.
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