two nurses in a hospital to show the difference between personal support workers and nhs support workersSupport workers play a vital role in residential and healthcare settings, and there are many opportunities open to qualified staff seeking rewarding roles in the sector. At Kingdom, our specialists are experts in temporary support worker recruitment, providing patients with high-quality care when they need it most.


Broadly speaking, there are two types of support worker: personal support workers and NHS support workers. While excellent patient care is always the priority, there are some important differences between the two roles which we will outline in this short article.

What Is A Personal Support Worker?

Personal support workers are employed by a private healthcare provider, agency, care home, or Local Authority. Their role involves providing care for people who are elderly, ill, or unable to carry out routine daily tasks. Often, patients are supported in their own homes, sometimes on a short-term basis, for example following a stay in hospital; visits to their home may be for part of a day or a limited period (such as 30 minutes to an hour), and you may provide care for many different patients in a single day.

The duties of a personal support worker include:

  • Bedside and personal care, including bathing, grooming, and dressing
  • Planning and preparing meals
  • Light housekeeping, such as making beds, washing dishes, and laundry
  • Changing non-sterile dressings
  • Administering oral medication in line with medical instructions
  • Talking to the patient

The principal aim of a personal support worker is to enable the patient to remain in their own home by assisting with essential tasks that they are unable to undertake independently due to age or illness.

What Is An NHS Support Worker?

NHS support workers are employed by the NHS or through a contracted agency, and work primarily within NHS hospitals, hospices, and healthcare facilities. These care givers help patients on their journey to full health in many settings in hospitals, clinics, or GP surgeries, in a wide range of areas from mental health to children’s services. Consequently, the demands and requirements of the role can be varied according to the unique needs of each patient.

 An NHS support worker is a proactive, hands-on role which involves many duties and responsibilities, including:

  • Monitoring patients and performing basic health checks
  • Helping patients to feel comfortable
  • Washing and dressing patients
  • Serving meals and helping patients to eat when necessary
  • Sterilising equipment
  • Restocking supply cupboards

NHS support workers may specialise in a particular area of healthcare provision, or opt to train as a nurse or midwife after gaining valuable experience in the role.

Contact Kingdom For More Information

At Kingdom, our recruitment team are specialists in support worker hire for both personal and NHS healthcare settings. To find out more about our services or the roles we have on offer, please call us on 0330 022 9422 and we will be pleased to assist you.

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