Porters are the heartbeat of NHS hospitals, making sure crucial goods and items are delivered where they are needed most. They are also make sure patients are at the right place at the right time to get the treatment they need.
Training and qualifications required
There are no set entry requirements. Employers expect a good standard of numeracy and literacy. They may ask for qualifications such as GCSEs in English and maths. Employers may expect porters to have some relevant healthcare experience. This could be from voluntary or paid work in, for example, care work. Customer service skills are useful, too. Some employers may ask for a driving licence. There are no formal training courses/programmes, but most porters will have an induction course when starting in their position. This generally covers information about the hospital, health and safety, lifting techniques etc. Further training is then given on the job.
Expected working hours and salary range
Porters working in the NHS are paid on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay system. You would typically start on AfC band 2. With further training and experience, you could apply for more senior positions at higher points on band 2. Team leaders of porters are typically on AfC band 3. Porters work standard hours of around 37.5 a week. Some may work shifts including early starts, evenings, nights and weekends. Terms and conditions will usually be different for porters working outside of the NHS.
Desirable skills and values
Porters in the NHS have to be friendly and helpful, calm and reassuring, physically fit for lifting, walking, pushing, etc, reliable, willing to work with staff and patients of all ages and from all walks of life, health and safety aware and able to follow instructions carefully. They also need communication and organisational skills.
With experience, you could move into a specialist porter role, working in a particular clinical department, with more responsibility. You could become a team leader, supervising the work of other porters. With further experience, you could become a manager, responsible for portering and other services across an NHS site or trust. You may be able to move into other areas in the wider healthcare team such as estates services.