Medical receptionist

Medical receptionists are part of the health services front line staff. Often they are the first person patients and visitors speak to when they are in hospitals, clinics or other healthcare settings. Receptionists need to be excellent communicators and able to remain calm in difficult or challenging situations.

The Role(s)

Medical receptionists work on their own or in a team, greeting patients as they arrive at hospital. They might also collect patient notes and ensure that these records go to the right healthcare professional. In a clinic, a medical receptionist may make appointments and arrange patient transport. Hospital departments can be busy and the pace can be fast.

Medical receptionists are part of NHSScotland's front line staff. They are often the first person many patients and visitors speak to when they are visiting a GP, consultant or hospital for the first time or waiting for the results of an important test.

Medical receptionists are employed in hospitals, in a ward or clinic, and in GP surgeries. They may work some evening and weekend shifts.

Skills, Interests and Abilities

Useful skills include:

  • good IT skills
  • excellent communication skills
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • good level of plain English, spelling and grammar
  • good time management skills
  • strong organisational skills

Useful abilities include:

  • the ability to work to deadlines
  • tact and discretion
  • the ability to work on own initiative
  • the ability to prioritise tasks and workload

Entry Requirements

Medical receptionists are likely to need a good standard of English and Maths. Some office experience and basic IT skills with word processing are useful skills to have for this role. 

The specific entry requirements will depend on the Agenda for Change (AfC) band (2, 3 or 4) for the job. The qualifications asked for may also vary depending on the recruiting NHSScotland board. You are advised to contact each individual board to find out its specific entry requirements.

Modern Apprenticeships

Modern Apprenticeships offer those aged over 16 paid employment with the opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management level.

Modern Apprenticeships in Business and Administration at SCQF Level 5 or SCQF Level 6 are frameworks for people interested in working in business and administration, and customer service. Find out more about these Modern Apprenticeships on the Skills Development Scotland (SDS) website:

Healthcare Support (Non-clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7 is another framework for people interested in working in a healthcare setting in a non-clinic support role. For more information about this Modern Apprenticeship framework, look at:

Contact your local Board to find out if these Modern Apprenticeships are available in your area.

Learning and Development

You will be encouraged to develop your career in NHSScotland and you will be given the training you need for the job including:

  • an introduction to the department and its procedures
  • health and safety
  • risk management

During your career, you may have the opportunity to study for additional qualifications, such as:

Visit the VQ Finder website to find out more about the full range of SVQs

Gaining new qualifications will help your career prospects, leading to more senior roles with a greater level of responsibility.

It may be possible through further training to progress to a supervisory or even management role such as an office manager or team leader or a GP practice manager or other senior roles in business and administration.

Professional Bodies

If you are working as a Medical Receptionist or Ward Clerk you will be able to join some of these organisations:

Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR)

The British Society of Medical Secretaries and Administrators (BSMSA)