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.

This page has information on the role of a porter in the NHS, including entry requirements and skills needed. 

Working life

'I get to know the patients and vice versa, just having a chat and a laugh can make them feel better.’ - Stephanie Ferris, porter, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust

Read Stephanie's real-life story

As a porter, you could be moving

Depending on where you work in a hospital, you may have other duties including

Your job title will usually reflect your duties, for example

Some porters may drive an NHS vehicle around an NHS site or between sites.

Who will I work with?

You'll usually be a part of the portering services team within an estates department and will have contact with clinical and non-clinical staff. Depending on you are are based, and your precise role, you could work with nurses, operating department practitioners, healthcare science staff working in the life sciences, healthcare assistants, housekeepers, security staff or catering staff.

Entry requirements 

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 usually 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.

Skills needed

Porters in the NHS have to be

Training and development

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.


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