Health records officer

Each NHSScotland patient has a record of their treatment and care. This must be accurate and kept up to date. Health record officers are responsible for managing these patient health records. They provide efficient health records service to patients, medical and nursing staff. They organise, update and store records in either paper-based documents or electronic records.

Health records officers make sure patient appointments and in-patient admissions are administered and processed accurately. They also make sure patients’ health records remain confidential and are safely stored.

Health record officers are also known as medical record officers.

Starting your career

Choosing subjects at school

To become a health records officer, you need a good standard of education. There are no entry requirements, but useful subjects include:

  • Administration and IT
  • English
  • Maths

Apprenticeships

An apprenticeship is a good way to start your career in healthcare.

Modern Apprenticeships

A Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support (non-clinical) is appropriate for people interested in working in a non-clinical healthcare support role.

Other relevant Modern Apprenticeships include:

Find out more about apprenticeships at apprenticeships.scot.

Work placement

If you’re at school or thinking of changing career, doing a work placement could help you when applying to college, university or for a job in healthcare. You’ll learn new skills, improve your knowledge and discover what it’s like to work in the health service. Find out how to apply for work experience with the NHS.

The role

You’ll make sure that the details of patients and their care are recorded and stored. You must guarantee they are kept safely and confidentially, meeting government and legal requirements.

You will be responsible for organising, updating and storing patient health records. You will work closely with other administrative staff and members of the wider healthcare team.

What you’ll do

Your main tasks include:

  • recording patient admissions, transfers and discharges
  • collating statistics
  • using clinical coding to record illnesses and treatments on patient records
  • transferring paper-based patient records to an electronic system
  • booking appointments for patients
  • dealing with queries from GPs and other healthcare professionals

If you are in a healthcare setting, you may be expected to answer the telephone and reception duties. You may also specialise in an area, such as admissions or clinical coding.

Top skills

You’ll need these skills:

  • accuracy
  • communicating with people
  • organisation
  • planning
  • working in a team
  • time management

Who you’ll work with

You could work with:

  • human resources
  • secretaries and personal assistants
  • GPs
  • consultants
  • allied health professionals
  • nursing staff

Working environment

You will in:

  • hospital wards
  • specialist departments or clinics
  • GP surgeries
  • health records department

Useful information

To work as a health records officer in NHSScotland, you’ll need to:

Learning and development

You will be encouraged to develop your career in NHSScotland and will be given training such as:

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

You may also have the chance to study for additional qualifications, including:

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) website has a full range of qualifications on offer for staff working in business, administration, IT, finance and medical records.

Gaining these new qualifications will help your career prosper. You’ll be able to apply to more senior roles, and progress to jobs such as team leader or health records manager. You may move into more specialist roles such as a medical secretary or personal assistant.

A full guide to the NHSScotland Education Pathways for Business and Administration is available.