The portering services team is an essential part of NHSScotland. Together, they co-ordinate portering activities within a healthcare setting. They make sure that patients, materials and equipment are safely and appropriately managed.

Porters work throughout the hospital and the estates. They are responsible for moving and transporting people and items to the intended destination. They have specialist knowledge of waste management and infection control.

Starting your career

Choosing subjects at school

To become a porter, you need a good standard of education. There are no entry requirements, but useful subjects include:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Administration and IT

Work placement

If you’re at school or thinking of changing career, doing a work placement could help you when applying to college, university or for a job in healthcare. You’ll learn new skills, improve your knowledge and discover what it’s like to work in the health service. Find out how to apply for work experience with the NHS.


An apprenticeship is a good way to start your career in healthcare.

Modern Apprenticeships

If you are interested in working in a non-clinical healthcare support role, there is the Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support (non-clinical).

Other relevant Modern Apprenticeships include:

Find out more about apprenticeships at apprenticeships.scot.

The role

You will be responsible for making sure that everything is in the right place at the right time. You may need to transport patients between departments or move equipment around the hospital.

What you’ll do

Your main tasks include:

  • helping nurses move a patient to a trolley or into a wheelchair
  • taking samples to the labs or meals to the wards
  • taking linen and equipment to the wards
  • moving furniture or removing refuse, including clinical waste
  • moving patients or equipment around the hospital by way of lifts or long corridors
  • transporting deceased patients from the ward to the mortuary

You may be expected to work outside. This may mean tidying outdoor areas or gritting in cold weather.

You may also be expected to drive an NHSScotland vehicle around the hospital or estate grounds.

Top skills

You’ll need these skills:

  • caring for people
  • communicating with people
  • listening skills
  • persuasion skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • relationship-building skills

Who you’ll work with

You could work with:

  • healthcare assistants
  • visitors
  • contractors
  • housekeepers
  • security staff
  • nurses
  • operating department practitioners

Working environment

You could work in:

  • acute hospitals
  • community hospitals
  • community treatment centres
  • residential or care homes

Useful information

To work as a porter in NHSScotland, you’ll need to:

Learning and development

You will be encouraged to develop your career in NHSScotland and will be given training such as:

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

You may also have the chance to study for additional qualifications, including:

Gaining these new qualifications and others will help your career prosper. You’ll be able to apply to more senior roles, and progress to portering supervisor or support services manager. With the appropriate qualifications and experience, you could move into other areas like estates management.