Medical secretary

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Medical personal assistant

Medical secretaries provide office support in hospitals, GP surgeries, private clinics and universities.

Salary Range: £16,500 to £27,000

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You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
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You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant subjects include a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Medical Administration. 

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
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You can get into this role through a business administrator advanced apprenticeship. 

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
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If you already work in a healthcare setting, for instance, as a receptionist or clerical assistant, it may help you move into a medical secretary role if you take a relevant qualification while you’re working.

The Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR) and the British Society of Medical Secretaries and Administrators (BSMSA) offer:

  • Level 2 Certificate and Diploma in Medical Administration
  • Certificate in Medical Terminology

Volunteering and experience

To get a job as a medical secretary, you’ll need experience of working in an office, ideally in a secretarial role. Temporary work can be a good way of getting this experience.

Direct application

If you want to apply directly for jobs, employers will expect you to have some GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English.

You’ll find it useful to have a typing or word processing qualification like an RSA certificate before you look for work. Some organisations may also want you to have knowledge of medical terminology.

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Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • administration skills
  • customer service skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • handling questions from patients, staff and consultants
  • organising a doctor’s diary, booking consulting rooms and meetings
  • making travel arrangements
  • managing a waiting list of patients
  • updating patient records and dealing with confidential information
  • sending samples for medical testing and recording the results
  • typing letters, clinical reports, minutes of meetings and filing
  • monitoring an office budget and dealing with invoices

Working environment

You could work in an office, at a GP practice or in an NHS or private hospital.

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With experience, you could manage a team of secretaries in a large organisation.

With further training, you could become an administration manager, office manager or GP practice manager.

You could also move into roles in finance or HR.