Drivers work in different parts of the NHS undertaking a variety of roles, including picking up patients and delivering goods and supplies .
This page has information on the role of drivers in the NHS, including entry requirements and skills needed.
As a driver, you could drive
- a patient transport service (PTS) vehicle (part of the ambulance service), often a specially designed ambulance with a tail-lift for wheelchairs, carrying several people to hospitals or clinics
- a minibus, to collect patients to go to a day centre
- a car to transport one or two more able-bodied people to and from hospital appointments
- a van to transport supplies or documents around NHS sites
- a mobile dental unit for a community health provider
- a light goods vehicle, moving larger goods between NHS sites
- a NHS Blood and Transplant vehicle as part of the donor carer team
You may be responsible for checking the vehicle before and after work, keeping it clean inside and out and reporting any faults.
Some PTS drivers are volunteers who use their own cars to transport patients.
Drivers may combine driving with other work, for example
- driver/warehouse operative
Who will I work with?
Depending on your role, you might drive:
- alone (eg if you're delivering blood)
- with a clinically qualified colleague (eg an ambulance care assistant (if driving for the PTS); or with a nurse or donor carer (if collecting blood at a blood donation clinic))
- with non-clinical colleagues (eg a porter, delivering goods to another part of your health organisation)
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. They may ask for GCSEs (or equivalent) in English and maths. Employers may also ask for relevant driving or customer service experience. This could be from paid or voluntary work.
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
- willing to work unsupervised
- driving skills
- good customer service skills, especially when dealing with patients
- communication skills
- organisation skills
Training and development
When you join the NHS as a driver, you will get the training you need. This may depend on the type of driving you are doing. The training 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. You may be encouraged to take further qualifications such as training to drive other vehicles.
- Pay and conditions Expand / Collapse
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 could 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.
- Where the role can lead Expand / Collapse
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. They may be able to apply to become driving instructors.
There are also opportunities for drivers outside the NHS.
- Job market and vacancies Expand / Collapse
If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services, you'll be asked to show how you think the NHS values apply in your everyday work.
- Further information Expand / Collapse