Primary Health Care Assistant (UCAPD Award)

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Course Delivery & Duration

40 weeks of self-directed study is facilitated by a distance learning pack and includes two compulsory study days at the start of the course and one optional day normally after 12 weeks. We strongly recommend that students attend this optional day.

This course forms the core module of our Cert. HE Primary Care qualification.

Notional Study Time 600 hours
Duration 40 weeks

Suitable For

Health Care Assistant


Teesside University UCAPD Primary Health Care Assistant 60 Credits Level 4

Outline Content

The course is aimed at Primary Health Care Assistants who wish to expand their role and enhance their knowledge and skills in relation to working as a primary health care assistant.  However, it will also be appropriate for those individuals who are relatively new to the role and wish to develop a greater understanding for the role.  The content covers administrative, practical and clinical matters to enable the student to assist health care professionals in their clinical activities. The course forms the core module of our Certificate in Higher Education (Cert. HE) Primary Care but may also be undertaken as a stand-alone course.

Students accessing this course must be working within the primary care setting alongside a registered nurse for a minimum of 8 hours per week.

All students are required to have a registered nurse mentor who will support them in the clinical environment and have a responsibility for signing off student competencies.

As part of the assessment involves writing three essays, it is important that students have a good ability to write clearly in English.

Learning Outcomes

  • Describe and explain key concepts, theories and principles that underpin the structure of the primary health care team and the role of the health care assistant within it.
  • Describe and explain key concepts for health and well-being and describe contemporary approaches to health promotion as undertaken as part of the health care assistant's role.
  • Describe and explain how legal and ethical issues within primary care can be applied to the role of the health care assistant to enhance safe and effective practice.
  • Recognise the evolving and developing clerical, clinical and treatment room roles of health care assistants in primary care teams.
  • Perform and explain the techniques used in carrying out clinical activities in primary care settings.
  • Act under supervision or guidance within defined guidelines to ensure health and safety and infection prevention and control requirements are met.
  • Contribute to the preparation and maintenance of the environment for clinical procedures in accordance with agreed clinical guidelines.
  • Identify own learning needs and develop a personal development plan to maximise own learning.
  • Demonstrate effective communication and writing skills.
  • Engage in team activities to enhance a cooperative approach to learning and working.
  • Reflect on own performance.

Section Headings

  • The structure of Primary Health Care services, including the role of the health care assistant
  • Patients' rights
  • Methods of communication, data protection and confidentiality
  • Health promotion
  • Clinical skills and competencies including physiological measurements (e.g. pulse, blood pressure, etc.)
  • Infection control
  • Health and safety
  • Accountability, ethical issues, scope of practice
  • Personal development including the use of the SWOT tool and developing a personal development Action Plan.
  • Using a reflective approach
  • Portfolio development


There are two components to the assessment. Both are submitted in Week 40.

Component 1: the student will successfully achieve five compulsory competencies and four practice competencies chosen from a designated list of options provided by The Primary Care Training Centre.  The registered nurse mentor signs to confirm that the student has achieved competence in the compulsory and practice competencies in the practice setting. The competencies are adapted from the National Occupational Standards Skills for Health Competency database

Compulsory competencies: Common Competencies; Confidentiality, Consent and documentation; Individualised approach to mental and physical needs; Health and safety; Infection control.
Optional Practice Competencies (a choice of 4): Pack and store biomedical specimens; Waste disposal; Patient health checks; Obtain and analyse urine specimens; Obtain and test capillary blood samples; Perform a resting electrocardiogram; Undertake a blood pressure measurement.
We suggest that the choice of competencies should help to expand the HCA role as opposed to choosing ones already competent in.

Component 2: The student will complete three essays as specified below:

  1. Explain the role of the Primary Health Care Team and the Healthcare Assistant role including promoting better health (2,000 words).
  2. Reflect and discuss a clinical activity, related to the competencies, which includes consideration of patients' rights as well as legal and professional issues (2,000 words).
  3. Discuss their learning experience and achievement of their personal objectives. Include: two SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) analyses - one from the beginning of the module and one from the end and a learning contract.  These are essential evidence and can be included as appendices (1,000 words).