Welcome to our National Research Launch Page


Healthcare assistants and Qualified Carers,

A Trained, but untapped underutilised resource: A population-based study in Ireland.

Full Report

First-ever Irish Study on HCAs & Carers using Irish data

#HCA #HearOurWordsHearOurVoices

National Study 2019-2020

 All things relating to our national study which took place over 2019/20 can be found here.

This study was the first-ever quantitative, statistical, population-based study carried out on the island of Ireland which specifically looked at the heroes of our healthcare system, the workers who are the glue keeping most services running. This study looks specifically at Qualified Carers and Healthcare Assistants (HCAs). There has never been a study on HCAs in Ireland asking them what they believe, need or envision to help the system they work in.


This study brought a variety of schools of thought together. The Consortium members include qualified professionals associated with professional bodies within the area of Healthcare Assistance (HCA's), Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Psychology, Nursing, Clinical Medicine, Health Services Research and Public Health. Information regarding consortium members can be found in the Full Report. 

The Study is still paying dividends and is being used by policymakers currently to give a full encompassing view of what is and what is not in Irish Care.

Being educationally inclusive we have provided a results summary video above.


The findings from this landmark study and report should go some way to supporting Qualified Carers/ HCAs in Ireland, giving them a profile, providing them with opportunities for discussion and debate and advancing their cause towards better outcomes for all which include other healthcare workers; managerial staff and patients alike.

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 This project aim was to analyse the data we collected; review the literature and recommend certain actions based on our statistical analyses which may improve the situation that is 'Irish Care,' being undertaken by Qualified Carers and Healthcare Assistants.


This aim resulted in 43 different recommendations which have been classified and directed into different care settings

Chapter six within the full report outlines the recommendations that have emerged from the work of this project and from the observations seen within the field/sector. Recommendations have been presented using the following categories:

  • General Recommendations for all sectors and Settings (below)

  • Policy / Legislation

  • Education

  • Recommendations specific to setting

  • Improve Well-being

Overall Recommendations (for all healthcare settings)

  1. All settings and Sectors need to provide a clear policy of progression for all HCAs with regards to their educational attainment

  2. Staff ratios need to be continually checked; literature and analytical findings from this study have noted an issue with staffing levels. Putting staff mental and physical health at risk due to understaffing is an issue which is covered by core competencies of HIQA, but nonetheless understaffing is still an issue

  3. All workers regardless of setting or sector need to be proficient in the English language; an English language test similarly used for nurses should be also be required for HCAs to ensure clients, patients, residents and service users can comprehend their caregiver.

  4. The Job description needs to be continuously re-evaluated; to prevent bad practice or overreliance on certain skills which remove teamwork ability but also limit the potential of learning opportunities for all staff members.

  5. Pay Grade should be in accordance with the candidate’s educational attainment and years of experience.


For Further Information on Recommendations Please Refer to the Full Report

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We have been 

Published on 

Lenus - The Irish Health Repository

The Study was critically evaluated on a variety of grounds for Publications well done to all who participated with our survey

We have been 

Published on 

Research Repository UCD

which ensures it's place in all Irish Scholary Librarys


Conyard KF, Metcalfe A, Corish S, Flannery J, Hannon P, Rusk B, Yeates S, Codd MB. (2020) Healthcare assistants and qualified carers,

A Trained, but untapped underutilised resource: A population-based study in Ireland. Dublin:

HCA and Carers Ireland & Centre for Support and Training in Analysis and Research, University College Dublin.


Conyard et al. (2020) Healthcare assistants and qualified carers, A Trained, but untapped underutilised resource:

A population-based study in Ireland. HCA and Carers Ireland & Centre for Support and Training in Analysis and Research,

University College Dublin.