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Admin, clerical & management

Managers and support staff are a key part of the NHS. 

Opportunities in the NHS are many and varied - for example, you could be a manager running a GP's surgery or a chief executive controlling a large hospital with a budget of millions of pounds.

How the NHS is best organised and delivered is going to be one of the great social and economic issues of the 21st century. Being a manager in the NHS will put you in the front line as this future unfolds.

A career to suit your interests

General managers in the NHS cover a tremendous range of areas, including strategic management, performance and quality management, service management, project management, purchasing and contract management, and communications and corporate affairs.

  • General managers - Organise the delivery of healthcare to everyone who needs it.

  • Estates and facilities managers - Manage buildings, support services and other environments where healthcare is delivered.

  • Information managers - Use information and IT to make help make, monitor performance and set priorities

  • Financial managers - Manage budgets and decide on resource allocation.

  • Clinical managers - Manage the delivery of clinical care and treatment.

  • Human resources or personnel managers - Provide career management, training and support for staff.


Administration

In the NHS, good record-keeping and administration can save lives. Doctors and other healthcare professionals need fast access to patients’ notes to make vital decisions about treatment. If, for example, an unconscious or confused patient is allergic to a particular drug or has a chronic condition such as diabetes, then the medical team needs to know.

Administrative staff have to communicate clearly with patients and outside organisations like social services. Equally, everyone contacting the health service – GPs, patients, relatives and staff – needs a first-class response.

Roles in this area include:

 

Clerks

Clerks are employed throughout the health service. In some clerical roles you will have a lot of contact with patients and relatives, in others none at all. You might work:

  • in an office, doing general tasks such as filing and photocopying
  • in a clinic, arranging appointments and checking patients in
  • on a ward, helping to admit and discharge patients.

Medical record-keepers

As the NHS moves from paper to electronic records, medical record-keepers are more vital than ever. You will look after highly confidential clinical notes. You’ll have to ensure the records are completely secure but at the same time have them readily available to those treating patients.

 

Medical secretaries

In this role you will run a GP or consultant’s office, dealing with correspondence, making appointments, handling patients’ queries and liaising with other healthcare staff. You’ll develop familiarity with medical terms. Medical secretaries work on their own initiative much of the time and deal with confidential clinical information.

Receptionists

As part of the front-line team, the receptionist is the first point of contact for many patients and visitors. You could work in one of many different areas, such as A&E, outpatients or a GP’s surgery. You might make appointments, check patients in and arrange transport, probably using a computer system.

Secretaries / typists

Your role will vary, depending on where you are based and how your office is organised. As well as word-processing, you might use computer spreadsheets and databases, deal with post, emails and phone calls, and run a filing system.

Switchboard operators / telephonists

Like a receptionist, you will be an important first contact for patients and their families, who might be anxious or upset. You will also take urgent calls from GPs and other healthcare staff in the community.

Chaplains

Chaplains offer spiritual care and emotional support to patients and staff. They usually work in hospital-based teams. Most are Anglicans, but chaplains are recruited from across the faith communities, according to the needs of local people.

Finance

Qualified and unqualified staff are employed in finance departments. At junior levels, you might handle invoices or run a payroll system. As a senior staff member, you could be involved in financial analysis, planning and reporting, management accounting and negotiations over funding.

Health education / health promotion officers

Health education officers are qualified professionals. In this position you’ll give advice and training on lifestyle and disease prevention to people in the community and to NHS staff. You might run weight-loss clinics and sessions on giving up smoking, for example.

 

Hospital play staff

You will be a key member of the team looking after children and young people in hospital. As a member of the hospital play staff you will use play and other activities such as art to help children cope with a hospital stay or undergo a medical procedure. You’ll also have close contact with families, helping to support them through a difficult time.

Human resources

The human resources department deals with everything relating to the employment of staff – from doctors and nurses to librarians and gardeners. You will be involved in recruitment, complaints and grievance procedures and in bringing in new local and national employment policies. An increasingly important part of your job would be to help employees benefit from the NHS’s work-life balance policies. You will work closely with health unions and professional bodies.

Librarians

Library staff provide an essential research and information service for doctors and other health professionals, and for health service managers. As a librarian, you will work increasingly with the internet and new technology to source reference material.

Nursery nurses

Provide care for children up to five years old. They work mainly with young patients, although some are employed in nurseries looking after children of NHS staff. Nursery assistants will work alongside and usually under the supervision of qualified nursery nurses.