Healthcare support workers

Wherever you can help, you’re needed

This application process is for those wishing to return to work for health and care organisations in England.

You can find out more about how you might to return to work in the other UK countries by clicking the following links: Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Thank you for your interest in rejoining the health and care sector as a healthcare support worker. To take the next step please complete this survey so we can understand how best to use your skills.

We have a large team working as quickly as they can to bring people back to work. It is important that we take sufficient time to ensure you are matched on an individual basis to where your skills are most needed, so it may take up to a week before you are contacted by the most suitable local health and care organisation.

Please read these frequently asked questions (FAQs) carefully before making contact as your questions may be answered there. If you have already completed the survey, please be assured that your offer of support is in progress and you will be contacted shortly.

As an experienced healthcare support worker, you have valuable skills and an understanding of safely and compassionately delivering care. We urgently need you to join our response to COVID-19.

By offering to return to the NHS or care sector now, you can make more of a difference than ever before, not just to patients and the individuals that we care for, but also to colleagues and the wider community. There are a wide range of opportunities available in a variety of organisations and settings.

Thank you for your support during these extraordinary times. We have worked hard to ensure rejoining us is easy and safe for you. It’s up to you to choose how much time you contribute and how long you are able to return for.

Understandably, you will have important questions to ask and we have tried to answer many of these in the FAQs, but if you have any further questions please email england.HCSW-returners@nhs.net

Your skills and experience will be sincerely valued at this difficult time.

Thank you.

Frequently asked questions for healthcare support workers who are considering returning to work during the COVID-19 outbreak

Yes, this process is voluntary. If you have experience working as a healthcare support worker (HCSW) we are very grateful for the support you are able to offer.

When you have completed the online survey confirming your wish to return, you’ll be contacted within three or four days about pre-employment checks. Once these have been processed a bespoke package of support will be agreed with you to enable you to return to work safely. This will include:

  • More specific guidance, for example, working arrangements, duties in relation to caring for patients with coronavirus and use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and identity checks which will be undertaken quickly – you won’t need to do anything.
  • A fast track induction including all key mandatory training requirements to ensure you are supported to practice safely.

Yes, we will require a full enhanced DBS check. The only exception will be if you have a recent DBS certificate (last three years). During the pre-employment checks we will advise you on whether a full enhanced DBS check is required. You will not be required to pay for a DBS check.

Yes, you will be paid for any work you do in a way that reflects the responsibilities you undertake. This will be discussed and negotiated with you and your employer at the point of your return into work.

Yes, you will be offered a contract that reflects working hour protections, pay arrangements and annual leave entitlement etc. Your working hours and pattern will be agreed between you and the organisation in which you have decided to work.

Where possible, you will be offered work at an organisation where you have worked before or are already linked with. There might be some occasions where we would ask if you would consider moving to a different area to cover local needs, but this will be in accordance with your identified skills and competencies and will always be discussed with you beforehand.

Tasks and responsibilities will vary depending on what is needed at the time. You will have a registered professional guiding you as to what duties you will be undertaking.

Yes, you will receive an induction that will cover key mandatory training requirements and more specific guidance, for example, on the management of coronavirus and use of PPE. There will also be the relevant local employer-led induction. Employers and service providers remain responsible for making sure that all workers are competent for their roles and are appropriately inducted, trained and supervised. In readiness, you may wish to complete the care certificate modules via e-Learning for healthcare, which you can register for and access.

You will be needed for a limited time period at this stage, but the exact length is not yet known. You are free to stop working at any point if your personal circumstances change and you are no longer able to do so. Contracts are likely to be drawn up for six months with the possibility for extension.

Yes, if this is clinically required. The health and safety of those working across health and care is an absolute priority, to keep you and your families safe and well, and to prevent continued spread of the virus.

If you perform a role which requires one, you may be placed on a rota, but this will be discussed with the organisation you are placed in.

There are a range of non-direct care roles you may wish to consider. These can be discussed in more detail as part of your bespoke offer.

As outlined in the Department of Health and Social Care’s testing strategy, testing is key to protecting the NHS and saving lives. The priority is testing patients to inform their clinical diagnosis. In addition, testing is now also available to all NHS and social care staff, including hospital, community and primary care, relevant staff providing support to frontline NHS services, and voluntary workers. In line with staff testing guidance, frontline staff who would like to be tested should speak to their employer.

Your contact details will be passed on to the teams working within your local or preferred areas so that they can begin discussing your options with you. Our regional placement managers will try to contact you within five days, however this may be longer subject to levels of applicants, which may need to be prioritised accordingly.

You are free to change your mind at any time. If you change your mind and don’t want to work anymore you should highlight this to your direct line manager and arrange for steps to be taken for you to leave work safely and as appropriate.

The health and safety of those working across health and care is an absolute priority. If you become ill while working, local policy and national guidance must be followed to ensure your safety and the safety of others. You should immediately inform your line manager and withdraw from work. If you have concerns regarding COVID-19 please follow the national guidance from NHS 111 online.