Starting your career
Choosing subjects at school
To become a medical receptionist, you need a good standard of education. There are no entry requirements, but useful subjects include:
- Administration and IT
An apprenticeship is a good way to start your career in healthcare.
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.
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.
As a medical secretary, you will take on administrative and secretarial tasks. You will be expected to use your initiative to make decisions and deal with patients and staff. You’ll also be in heavy contact with GPs and other healthcare staff.
What you’ll do
Your main tasks include:
- arranging appointments for patients and managing the waiting list
- managing the diary of the consultation to guarantee effective time management
- dealing with telephone and face to face enquiries from all staff groups, patients and relatives
- working together with other staff
- completing personal assistant tasks relevant to supporting the department lead consultant
- carrying out administrative jobs
You could be expected to have a good knowledge of medical terminology.
You’ll need these skills:
- accuracy checking skills
- communicating with people
Who you’ll work with
You could work with:
- health records staff
You could work in:
- specialist clinics
- GP surgeries
To work as a medical receptionist 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
Some personal assistants become members of the Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR) or the British Society of Medical Secretaries and Administrators (BSMSA).
You may be offered the chance to take further qualifications for AMSPAR or BSMSA. They also offer training, online forums and newsletters.
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 office manager. You could also move into other senior roles in business and administration.
A full guide to the NHSScotland Education Pathways for Business and Administration is available.