Portering Staff

Hospital Porters carry out many important duties, such as taking patients to different departments, or moving equipment around the hospital site.

They make sure that people, equipment and records are in the right place at the right time and without them the hospital could not function.


Hospital Porters are usually part of the portering services team within the facilities department and will have contact with clinical and non-clinical staff. Some Porters may drive an NHSScotland vehicle around a hospital's grounds.

Porters are responsible for moving and transporting people and items around a hospital, including:

  • going to different departments in response to a pager
  • helping Nurses lift a patient onto a trolley or into a wheelchair
  • sorting and delivering incoming mail
  • taking meals to the wards or taking samples to the labs
  • taking linen and equipment to the wards
  • moving furniture or removing refuse, including clinical waste
  • moving patients or equipment around the various parts of the hospital by way of lifts and long corridors
  • transporting patients who have died from the ward to the mortuary
  • driving a van or buggy from building to building around the hospital or estate grounds.

Depending on where they work in a hospital, Porters may have other duties, including cleaning and tidying outside areas and gritting in cold weather.

Portering Supervisor

Portering Supervisors, co-ordinate and monitor portering activities within a healthcare setting, to ensure high standards are achieved and maintained.

They are responsible for the supervision of staff, including their training and development.

Portering Manager

Portering Managers oversee portering services within a healthcare setting and manage a team of Supervisors and Porters to ensure an essential service is delivered around the clock to a high standard.

They also ensure that patients, materials, and equipment are safely and appropriately managed.

Useful skills include:

  • an awareness of health and safety procedures
  • a helpful and friendly personality
  • excellent communication skills
  • good level of physical fitness
  • reliability and good organisational skills

Useful abilities include:

  • the ability to follow instructions carefully
  • willing to work with people of all ages, lifestyles and backgrounds
  • the ability to work calmly and quickly in emergencies or challenging situations

Hospital Porters are likely to need a good standard of general education. Relevant healthcare experience is also desirable, either voluntary work or paid work. Customer service skills are useful too.

If required to drive NHSScotland vehicles on site or between hospitals, Porters need to have a full valid driving licence. They may also need alternative dispute resolutions (ADR) awareness.

To work in NHSScotland as a Porter, you may need the following qualifications:]

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.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme

For portering roles, NHSScotland may need to conduct a criminal record check. This could be a basic or standard level or a PVG, especially if you are entering regulated work for the first time. You can find out more about the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme managed by Disclosure Scotland on the mygov.scot website.

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 Facilities Services at SCQF Level 5 or Facilities Management at SCQF Level 7 are frameworks for people interested in working in facilities management. Find out more about these Modern Apprenticeships 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 encouraged to develop your career in NHSScotland and you’ll be given the training you need for the job including:

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

Once employed, NHSScotland encourages staff to study Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs). 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 to Head Porter or Support Services Manager. Senior Management roles include Estates Manager and Head of Estates.

Learn more about the NHSScotland Estates and Facilities career pathways.

Portering service staff are able to join the following organisations:

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.


The Chartered Institute of Wastes Management (CIWM)

CIWM provides information about qualifications and professional development in the areas of waste and resource management. Find out more on the CIWM website.