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NHS Education for Scotland

A skilled and sustainable workforce for a healthier Scotland

Health and care support worker development programme


NES was commissioned by the Scottish Government to undertake a review of career pathways for Health Care Support workers (HCSW) working at levels 2-4 of the NHS Career Framework for Health in health and social care within NHS Scotland. The aim of the commission was to scope and recommend a nationally agreed framework to support definition of Healthcare Support Worker (HCSW) roles, career progression and development through education and training, with a focus on how HCSWs support registered staff.

The commission will be developed in 3 phases:

  • Phase one: HCSW bands 3-4 practising within acute and community nursing teams. This phase was completed on schedule and a report submitted to Scottish Government which can be accessed under supporting documents . The report includes a number of recommendations which are now being considered in phase 2.
  • Phase two: HCSW band 2 nursing, band 2-4 nursing, midwifery and allied health professions (NMAHPs) and band 4 Ambulance Technician
  • Phase three – HCSW bands 2 – 4 for Healthcare Science


Since the Scottish Government commissioned NHS Education for Scotland to take forward work on education and development of Level 2-4 Healthcare Support Workers, several questions have arisen from stakeholders. This set of frequently asked questions and answers is designed to address some of the common enquiries.

Frequently asked questions (PDF)

Supporting documents

Summary of the Healthcare Support Worker commission (PDF)

HCSW Education and Development Programme Phase 1 Report (PDF)

HCSW Education and Development Programme Phase 1 Letter from CNOD/NES (PDF)


Related links

Support worker central

Last updated: Thursday, March 31, 2022

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