Medical secretary/personal assistant

Medical secretaries support the work of a department or a group of staff. Personal assistants work for senior members of staff. 

This page has information on the role of a medical secretary, including entry requirements and skills needed. 

Working life

As a medical secretary or personal assistant, you'll usually work for a senior member of staff or group of staff. You'll support the work of a department by taking on administrative and secretarial tasks. For example:


You could be based in clinical areas such as:

You may have contact with patients and their families as well as with healthcare staff and other admin staff.

Personal assistants may also be based in non-clinical areas such as NHS headquarters buildings where there is little or no contact with patients.

Medical secretaries/personal assistants may supervise a team of admin/secretarial staff such as clerks or typists.

Entry requirements, skills and interests

Medical secretaries/personal assistants have usually worked elsewhere in the NHS so they have experience of medical terminology and NHS ways of working.

There are no set entry requirements for a medical secretary/personal assistant. However, employers expect excellent keyboard skills. They may ask for qualifications in typing or word processing. Employers also expect a good standard of literacy, numeracy and IT skills. They may ask for GCSEs or equivalent qualifications. You may be able to enter an apprenticeship through an administrative role and through further training and qualifications, progress to more senior roles as a medical secretary or personal assistant.

Personal characteristics

As a medical secretary or personal assistant, you'll need to:

Skills required

Training and development

You will get the training you need to do the job. This includes an introduction to the department, how to use the IT and phone equipment and the procedures to follow. You may also have training in customer care.

You may be offered the chance to take qualifications such as NVQs or those from:

Some medical secretaries/personal assistants become members of AMSPAR or BSMSA. Both AMSPAR and BSMSA offer training, online forums and newsletters so staff can network with others doing the same type of work

Other roles that may interest you

Is there anything wrong with this page?

Help us improve Health Careers