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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)

Development and Education Framework for Levels 2 – 4 NMAHP Healthcare Support Workers

Following stakeholder consultation which closed 29.07.2022, the framework has been updated to reflect the feedback received.  Please note that the framework will in due course be incorporated into the NMAHP Development Framework. In the meantime we do not want to delay the use of the framework by health boards.  Please download the framework from the link below.

Development and Education Framework for Levels 2 – 4 NMAHP Healthcare Support Workers (DOCX)

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, September 1, 2022

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