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New Skills for Health campaign highlights role of healthcare support workers

9 February 2016

Skills for Health and the National Skills Academy for Health have launched a new campaign to highlight the vital role support workers play within the UK’s health sector and to say 'thank you' to unsung healthcare heroes.

#OurHealthHeroes celebrates the 798,600 people across the UK health sector who work as healthcare assistants, assistant practitioners, porters, cleaners, caterers, maintenance staff and administrative staff, by encouraging people who have benefitted from their support to share their stories and thanks. There are more than 75,200 healthcare support workers in the South West and 8,800 in Bristol.

The campaign launched at Southmead Hospital, and includes a short film featuring healthcare support workers from Southmead. The film illustrates the impact and value the support workforce has on the delivery of individual patient care.

  • The UK health sector employs over 2.1 million people
  • 40 per cent (798,600) of the healthcare workforce are support staff
  • 25,731 people work in catering occupations representing 1 per cent of the workforce
  • Maintenance workers number 15,000 and are the fifth largest group of support workers in the sector
  • Porters follow closely, with almost 13,000 performing an essential role in maintaining the smooth running of a hospital

Ian Wheeler, Head of Research, Labour Market Intelligence & Evaluation at Skills for Health, said:

“Support worker roles are critical, ensuring that hospital and healthcare practices around the UK are running efficiently and effectively, yet they often go unnoticed. Our research shows it is only by understanding the contribution and value of the support worker role that the health sector will be able to realise its potential in terms of productivity and efficiency. By creating higher quality roles for support staff and providing better progression opportunities for support workers into registered roles, millions could be saved every year in the UK health sector. Our recent working paper How we can act now to create a high quality support workforce in the UK’s health sector catalogues a list of “ingredients” that make such developments sustainable. These 12 key points aim to give those interested in workforce development a practical guide to creating demand for high quality support worker roles in the UK’s health sector.”

Candace Miller, Director of the National Skills Academy for Health, said:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Skills for Health on this campaign. We regularly work with employers to ensure this vital sector of the workforce gets the training they need to do the job they love, creating and maintaining the high quality health service we all want. The NSAH is committed to improving access to great training provision and our Apprenticeship Training Agency is a key component of the support we offer to employers.”

People can support #OurHealthHeroes by sharing the film with their networks and tagging #OurHealthHeroes, and sharing their personal stories of support workers on Twitter using #OurHealthHeroes @Skillsforhealth @NSA_Health.

New Skills for Health campaign highlights role of healthcare support workers
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