Medical secretary

Medical secretaries provide administrative support to a department or senior staff working in a health setting. They release medical staff from doing paperwork to do the important job of making people better.

Work Activities

Medical secretaries carry out administrative tasks in order to allow health staff to concentrate on their duties and help to ensure that the department runs smoothly. Some medical secretaries work for just one senior member of staff. Duties may include:

  • Answering the telephone, passing on calls and taking messages
  • Answering queries from patients and staff
  • Data input
  • Updating patient records
  • Opening incoming post and passing it to the right person
  • Arranging for the collection of outgoing post
  • Making appointments and managing the office diary
  • Making room bookings
  • Making travel arrangements
  • Taking minutes of meetings
  • Making decisions about prioritising work
  • Managing a budget
  • Ordering stationery and office supplies
  • Other duties as required

Personal Qualities and Skills

Key skills for medical secretaries

  • Excellent IT and office skills
  • Good organisational skills
  • A calm temperament
  • Good communication skills
  • Accurate spelling
  • Tact and diplomacy

It may be helpful to speak or write Welsh if you wish to work in Wales.

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers of medical secretaries

Medical secretaries are usually employed by hospitals and health clinics in the NHS or private sector, GP surgeries and universities.

Applicants for posts in the NHS should be aware of the values of the NHS eg commitment to quality care, compassion, improving lives, respect and dignity, working together for patients and everyone counts.

Applicants for posts in the NHS in England should be aware of the revamped NHS constitution.


Qualifications and training required

No minimum academic qualifications are set, but individual employers may set out their own requirements. You will probably need good communication skills and IT skills and an understanding of medical terms: often medical secretaries have experience of working in a health setting.

With further experience and training, you could gain more senior positions as a medical secretary in the NHS or outside the NHS. You may be able to move into other positions in health care administration or administrative roles outside healthcare.

The NHS says it offers fair pay, good training that will enable people to reach their full potential, equality of opportunity and good working conditions.

You may find it helpful to take qualifications offered by AMSPAR (the Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists) or the British Society of Medical Secretaries and Administrators (BSMSA). These courses are often offered part-time or through distance learning.

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