A medical receptionist is the first point of contact that patients and visitors have when they go to a GP practice, health centre or hospital. Medical receptionists are responsible for ensuring that people are in the right place at the right time, and for promoting a positive image of where they work.
A medical receptionist's responsibilities may include:
Medical receptionists may also be responsible for first aid, and health and safety.
They work as part of a team, often including other medical receptionists, medical secretaries, doctors and nurses. They usually report to a practice manager.
Medical receptionists working for a private medical practice may also be involved with issuing invoices, dealing with medical insurance companies and taking payment for treatments.
Medical receptionists typically work between 37 and 40 hours a week, from 8.30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Some receptionists may be required to work a shift pattern to provide an extended service, covering evenings and weekends. There may be part-time and job share opportunities.
The role is office based. It may involve long periods of sitting and working at a desk. Smart casual or business dress is usually expected.
Starting salaries may be around £13,000 a year.
There are approximately two million people employed in the UK health sector. Opportunities are available across the UK. The largest employer is the NHS, where medical receptionists are employed in:
- GP practices
- Out-of-hours centres
- Health centres
Opportunities are also available within the independent sector, which includes private hospitals and voluntary organisations.
Vacancies are reasonably frequent and are advertised in local newspapers and Jobcentre Plus offices, and on the NHS jobs website www.jobs.nhs.uk.
There are no formal entry requirements to become a medical receptionist, although employers may ask for five GCSE's (A*-C), including English and maths.
The Diplomas in society, health and development or business, administration and finance may be relevant for this area of work.
There are a number of nationally accredited Level 2 qualifications that may be suitable for people aiming to become medical receptionists, including:
Training is on the job. Employees may also be encouraged to attend training programmes to assist in their development. This is likely to include training on a healthcare computer system.
Some employers offer the BTEC National Awards in business (Levels 1 to 3).
In addition to the courses listed above, AMSPAR offers a non-accredited short course Certificate in Health Service Administration for newly appointed staff, covering:
Those wishing to progress to a career as a medical secretary may also choose to study for the British Society of Medical Secretaries (BSMS) Certificate in Medical Secretarial Studies or the City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Diploma for medical secretaries.
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A medical receptionist should:
Various career opportunities are open to medical receptionists. With experience and training, they may able to move into supervisory and management roles.
They could also move to a different NHS trust, surgery or practice, or into the independent sector.
It may also be possible to move into a related clerical or administrative role in a non-medical field.
Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers,
Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR),
Tavistock House North, Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9LN
Tel: 020 7387 6005
British Society of Medical Secretaries (BSMS),
132 Mayfield Rd, Edinburgh EH9 3AH
Tel: 0131 466 0682
Skills for Health, 2nd Floor,
Goldsmiths House, Broad Plain,
Bristol BS2 0JP
Tel: 0117 922 1155
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.