Healthcare Assistant Academy

As one of the leading teaching hospitals in England, the Newcastle Hospitals is committed to providing exceptional standards of education and training, and ensuring that all learning opportunities for our staff are focused around placing the patient at the heart of everything we do, whatever their role.

For Health Care Assistants (HCAs), the Trust runs the HCA Academy which offers a comprehensive, five day induction programme for newly appointed HCAs. The programme introduces them to the vision and values of the Newcastle Hospitals, and allows them to fully explore their role, with the opportunity to develop and practice their new skills and knowledge in a classroom and safe, three patient bed area with a life-sized mannequin and many items of clinical equipment they will see or use in their working environment, before working in one of the Trust’s clinical areas. 


National Care Certificate standards

During the probationary period, each new HCA will be expected to demonstrate that they have achieved the National Care Certificate standards, both in knowledge and clinical practice.  This is in line with recent national recommendations outlined in the Cavendish Review (2013), which followed the Francis Inquiry Report (2012). 

The recommendation in the Cavendish Review of supporting the learning and development of non-registered care staff has now been implemented, with the launch of the National Care Certificate in April 2015.  During the HCA five day programme sessions include:

 Harm-free care  End-of-life care
 Customer service and teamwork  Privacy, dignity and respect
 Care of the bariatric patient   Nutrition and hydration
 Healthcare Assistant Code of Conduct  Record keeping
 Infection prevention and control
 National Early Warning Score (NEWS) and recording observations
 Personal care  Learning Disability
 Anatomy and physiology  Sensory impairment
 Bladder and bowel care  Pain management
 Diabetes  Mental Health Awareness

After attending the Academy, the HCAs complete the National Care Certificate (demonstrating knowledge and clinical skills). This provides the HCA with the knowledge and skills to support their practice and provides the Trust with assurances that the HCAs have met the minimum levels required in terms of knowledge and the ability to deliver safe and compassionate care that meets the needs of patient and their families.

Healthcare at its very best - with a personal touch

Helen Lamont, Nursing & Patient Services Director for the Newcastle Hospitals explains the importance of Newcastle’s HCA Academy: “Health Care Assistants perform extremely important roles in our clinical areas providing one to one care for patients – bathing, turning, feeding, and much more. They spend much of their time at the patient’s bedside and so it is essential that they understand each patient’s needs, and how to meet those needs by providing the highest standards of compassionate care.

"The Academy ensures that we recruit the finest candidates, train them to recognise the organisations’ values, behavioural and professional expectations in everything that they do, and provide support to help them develop their vocational aspirations.”

We know from feedback that HCAs now feel more confident when going into the clinical area because of the knowledge and practical skills gained at the Academy such as taking observations, applying anti-embolism stockings and taking blood glucose. Feedback has included:

“I have learned a lot regarding taking patients’ obs, dementia, tissue viability, end of life. The whole training course has been invaluable.”

“I found the academy useful and a great way to introduce people into the trust, with background information and what is expected of us as HCAs. And also that we now know ward sisters won’t expect us to do things straight away.”

“I will support patients the best that I can and make sure I will apply what I have learnt, by knowing and applying the 6Cs.”

The HCA Academy

The HCA Academy is based at the Trust’s Cragside Education Centre located on the Campus for Ageing and Vitality (CAV). This purpose-built training facility is designed to provide first-class training for all members of frontline staff, with the universal focus of placing patients at the heart of everything that they do.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find out about Health Care Assistant (HCA) jobs in the NHS?Show [+]Hide [-]

Have a look at this website which provides information about the HCA role

The Newcastle Hospitals also hold regular Career Open days. These are advertised through local schools and on the Trust website. 

Does the Newcastle Hospitals offer apprenticeships?Show [+]Hide [-]

Not at the moment. Our apprenticeship programme is being launched from 1st April 2016. 

Our apprentices will be recruited to fill actual vacancies, so all those who successfully complete the programme will be guaranteed employment with the Trust.

Most of our apprenticeships will be at Intermediate level, and will last for one year.  GCSE English and Maths at Grades A* to C will be the entry requirement.

Apprenticeship posts will be advertised on NHS Jobs and the Apprenticeship Vacancy Matching Service websites.

What are the essential requirements for a Health Care Assistant post? Show [+]Hide [-]

At the Newcastle Hospitals, the essential requirements are:

•   NVQ level 2 in appropriate subject (or on pathway) or equivalent qualification/experience
•   Good literacy and numeracy skills
•   Ability to communicate with members of the public and health care providers
•   Presents self as courteous, respectful and helpful
•   Ability to work effectively under direct supervision, as part of the multi-disciplinary team 

Where are the vacancies advertised? Show [+]Hide [-]

All Health Care Assistant vacancies at the Newcastle Hospitals are advertised on NHS jobs

The Trust also has a Facebook page with information about vacancies:

Can I be notified when vacancies come up?Show [+]Hide [-]

Yes.  You need to register on NHS jobs, then you will receive e-mail notification when vacancies are advertised.

I have other commitments but want to gain hospital experience as a Health Care Assistant, can I do this?Show [+]Hide [-]

We have some part time roles, a Staff Bank and volunteering opportunities.  Work on the staff bank enables staff to work on a variety of wards when the ward requires additional support.  Staff Bank vacancies are advertised on NHS jobs.

Find out more about volunteering opportunities here.                                                                                                         

Do I have to work as a Health Care Assistant on the Staff Bank to get a permanent HCA post?Show [+]Hide [-]

No, however recent experience working in care would be advantageous.

Is there any training available? Show [+]Hide [-]

Once you are appointed to a HCA role at the Newcastle Hospitals, there will be a period of induction this will include the HCA Academy (providing you with the knowledge and skills to effectively deliver patient care), Corporate Trust Induction, and a local induction to your clinical area. 

If I am invited for interview but cannot come on that day; can I be given another interview date?Show [+]Hide [-]

No, these are generic interviews and are only arranged for set dates.  If you are unable to attend you will have to re-apply.

Is there someone I can contact for more information?Show [+]Hide [-]

Yes, each job will have a recruiting managers contact details attached to it; for all other enquires regarding HCA jobs please contact

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