New apprentices blaze the way in our operating theatres

Posted on August 28, 2019 by AireAdmin

Two health care support workers are paving the way on a new trainee programme – inside the operating theatres at Airedale Hospital.

 Katie Scargill and Jade Callaway are both health care support workers at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust and in September will be moving up the next step of their careers as they start as Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) trainees.

The new role gives them the opportunity to complete a degree course at Bolton University whilst working in the job with protected study time.

As ODPs they will provide high standards of skilled care and support during each phase of a patient’s perioperative care – anaesthetic, surgical and recovery.  They also manage the preparation of the environment, equipment and act as the link between the surgical team and other parts of the operating theatre and hospital. They must be able to anticipate the requirements of the surgical team and respond effectively.

Katie Scargill from Skipton has been a health care support worker for 8 years and says:

“I worked on maternity first as a Health Care Support worker and was in theatre a lot because I worked night shifts so I did a lot of the emergencies. Talking to the ODPs I really fancied seeing some more operations so I came for an interview and was successful.  I just love working in theatres, every day is different.”

Jade Callaway is from Long Lee near Keighley and says:

“I’ve worked here for 5 years as a health support worker and worked at Steeton Court Nursing Home before that.  I’ve just progressed from there.  Every day is a learning day which is interesting, you’re working with different teams day in, day out, so it’s always something new.”

Dean Harness, Practice Development Lead at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust says:

“We are really pleased to be able to offer this apprenticeship scheme so we can invest in our experienced health care support workers.  They will be working with mentors, working with the anaesthetist in the anaesthetic room, in recovery working with patients as they are waking up and doing much more complex cases in theatre such as laparotomies, hip and knee replacements as a scrub.  The good thing about the apprenticeship scheme is that they will come out of it with a band 5 post and as a ready-made OPD so will be able to cover all the areas in theatre.”

Karen Taylor, Clinical Governance Manager for Theatres at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust says:

“If we can invest in our staff it is a win- win for us because we know that they have already shown a massive commitment to the organisation before they’ve got to this point and our hope is that once they’ve qualified they can go on to be our future managers, which is great for us.  It’s a really exciting time for us as we try new and innovative ways of attracting people into theatre.

Karen continues:

When Jade and Katie move to the trainee OPD positions their posts as band 3 senior HCSW become vacant so again it allows progression for the band 2 staff to move into those positions.  It shows a real investment in our team because we know how hard they work for us and we want to keep them.”

For more information on a career as an ODP go to

The next cohort of apprentice health care support workers at Airedale Hospital will be advertised in 2020.  To search for job vacancies for apprentice health care support workers go to