Information for HCAs APs and TNAs 2

UK wide information for HCAs and APs

The RCN supports mandatory regulation of HCAs and APs

RCN membership

If you provide health or social care under the guidance and supervision of a registered nurse, midwife or health visitor and are not on a professional register you could be eligible to join the RCN.


The RCN supports learning and development for HCAs and APs across all four UK countries and provides representation wherever nursing takes place.

UK codes, standards and country specific information


In England the Care Certificate was implemented from 1 April 2015. Employers are expected to help new support workers achieve the standards in the certificate within around 12 weeks of starting employment. For more information visit the Health Education England website.

You may find the following links useful:

Northern Ireland

The Department of Health in Northern Ireland has introduced the new title of nursing assistant, in recognition of the role of support staff within the overall nursing workforce.

The title will replace the healthcare assistant title for all those working in nursing teams, who undertake delegated aspects of nursing care and are supervised by a registered nurse. Those in band 3 roles will be known as senior nursing assistants “in recognition of their wider skill set”.

This change of title is accompanied by a “suite of resources” for nursing assistants employed by trusts in Northern Ireland. They include new standards for nursing assistants and an induction and development pathway. All of these resources can be found on the Department of Health website.

In Northern Ireland, health and social care services are integrated. The Northern Ireland Social Care Council regulates all social care assistants, including care assistants working in nursing homes. Whilst care assistants working in nursing homes are part of the nursing team and are supervised by a registered nurse, they are regulated by and must meet the Northern Ireland Social Care Standards.  

Visit the Northern Ireland Social Care Council website for more information.

See also: RCN Northern Ireland


RCN Scotland's We Care campaign. The ‘We Care’ campaign recognises the high quality care and support health care support workers provide to patients and those requiring care. The role of health care support workers is celebrated with two specially commissioned films.

NHS Education for Scotland has developed the health care support workers toolkit. This includes the Scottish government's mandatory induction standards for health care support workers, a code of conduct for support workers and a code of practice for employers in Scotland. 

There are separate sets of codes relating to conduct and practice in the independent sector. For more information please visit the Scottish Social Services Council website.

See also: RCN Scotland


In Wales a code of practice for NHS Wales employers and a code of conduct for health care support workers has been available since 2011. In 2016 an NHS Wales Skills and Career Development framework Developing Excellence in Healthcare was introduced for all support workers.

See also: RCN Wales

RCN work on regulation

The RCN has published various policy papers setting out its position on regulation. You can use these to find more information on the perceived benefits of regulating HCAs.

See: Registered Nurses and Health Care Support Workers: A summary of RCN policy positions.

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100 top tips

100 Top Tips from HCSWs, HCAs, APs and other nursing support workers.

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As an RCN member, you can get free, confidential advice, representation and support on a range of issues that affect you at home and at work.