Linen Support Staff

Laundry and Linen Services is a key service within NHSScotland in terms of patient comfort and hygiene and minimising the risk of infection.

My name is Jennifer. I'm a Laundry assistant in Hillington Industrial Estate and I work for NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde.

I bring good communication skills, good social skills, time keeping skills and also practical skills, which are needed in the many different aspects of the laundry.

What I like about my work in here is the diversity in here. There's many different cultures and nationalities. It's great to learn about different cultures, about different countries, their lives. For example, Polish people celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. We find out many different things.

I feel my job as a Laundry assistant is important as I don't feel the hospitals would be able to function properly without it. For example, if a patient is brought in to A & E without pyjamas, the pyjamas have already been laundered and sent to the nursing staff, ready for the patient.

I enjoy working on one of the ironing folders. There's always a group of us instead of individually and we have a good laugh together. I feel that working with these people makes my day.

Linen Support staff wash and dry linen, including sheets and towels. Clean linen is important in healthcare to help reduce the risk of infection.

There are various roles within linen services.

As a Linen Room Assistant or Laundry Assistant, you may:

  • take items of clothing or linen from wards and other patient areas
  • receive linen from hospital departments
  • deliver clean linen to the wards
  • sort linen ready for cleaning or washing
  • operate industrial washing and dry cleaning equipment
  • dry and finish using steam cabinets, steam and vacuum presses or by hand
  • pack linen for storage or delivery
  • keep records of stock levels

Working as a Supervisor, you would oversee the work of a team of Linen Room Assistants and Laundry Assistants.

As a Laundry Manager, you would ensure Laundry Services meet hygiene and quality standards. You would also have other management duties, such as:

  • recruiting and training staff
  • arranging staff rotas

Linen Room Assistants or Laundry Assistants based in hospitals may have some contact with patients. Managers and staff working in off-site laundries have little or no contact with patients.

Useful skills include:

  • good level of physical fitness
  • very health and safety aware
  • teamworking skills

Useful abilities include:

  • the ability to work on own initiative
  • the ability to follow instructions and procedures carefully
  • willing to take responsibility for their own work

Linen Room Assistants and Laundry Assistants are likely to need a good standard of general education. It is also useful to have some experience of linen or laundry work, either from paid employment or voluntary work.

Supervisors or managers will normally have worked in linen services, either within the NHSScotland or elsewhere.

The specific entry requirements will depend on the role. The qualifications asked for may also vary depending on the recruiting NHSScotland Board. You are advised to contact each individual Board to find out its specific entry requirements.

Modern Apprenticeships offer those aged over 16 paid employment with the opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management level.

Modern Apprenticeships in Fashion and Textiles Heritage at SCQF Level 5 is a framework for people interested in working in the fashion and textile sector or laundry and linen services. Find out more about this Modern Apprenticeship on the Skills Development Scotland (SDS) website:

Healthcare Support (Non-clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7 is another framework for people interested in working in a healthcare setting in a non-clinical support role. For more information about this Modern Apprenticeship framework, look at:

You will be helped and encouraged to develop your career in NHSScotland and you will be given the training you need for the job including:

  • an introduction to the department and its procedures
  • health and safety
  • risk management
  • the linen services workbook provided by Health Facilities Scotland (HFS)

During your career, you may have the opportunity to study for additional qualifications, such as:

Look on the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) website to find the full range of qualifications on offer for staff working in facilities services.

Career pathways

Gaining new qualifications will help your career prospects, leading to more senior roles with a greater level of responsibility.

With further experience and qualifications, you could progress from Laundry Assistant or Linen Room Assistant to the Supervisor of a Linen Services team. You could also go on to apply for Senior Management roles, such as Laundry Manager. 

Learn more about the NHSScotland Estates and Facilities career pathways.

Linen support staff can join these professional bodies:

Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS)

REHIS is an awarding body for qualifications in Food Safety, Food and Health and Occupational Health and Safety. Find out more on the REHIS website.

British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM)

The BIFM is the professional body, which represents facilities management organisations and practitioners in the UK. Find out more on the BIFM website.

Guild of Cleaners and Launderers

The Guild of Cleaners and Launderers is a technical and professional society whose aim is to further knowledge and skill in all branches of the industry. Find out more on the website.

British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc)

The BICSc is is an independent and professional body for people working in the cleaning industry. It aims to ‘raise the status and standards of the cleaning industry, through education and accredited training.' Find out more on the BICSc website.

Institute of Decontamination Sciences

The IDSc, formerly the Institute for Sterile Services Management provides education and training for staff working in decontamination services, so they can meet the technical and operational challenges of medical decontamination. It also provides a forum for staff, so current trends, philosophies and practices can be discussed to help reduce the risks of infection. Find out more on the IDSc website.

The Association of Healthcare Cleaning Professionals (AHCP)

The AHCP represents a range of healthcare staff across Laundry / Linen, Portering, Transport, Telecommunications and others. Find out more on the AHCP website.

Society of Hospital Linen Service and Laundry Managers

The society offers practical advice on the many aspects of linen service management. It also actively promotes education and training. Find out more on the Society of Hospital Linen Service and Laundry Managers website.