Clerks are the engine that keeps the NHS running successfully. They make sure our patients have the information they need for their care and our healthcare professionals can access crucial patient records. 

"Having a good knowledge of using computers and being familiar with the windows programmes helped me settle in a lot better than I thought."

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Working life

Clerks support our patients and clinical staff, such as surgeons, GPs and nurses. Clerks work throughout the NHS in areas such as:

  • hospital wards 
  • specialist departments or clinics, including cancer centres or accident and emergency units
  • GP surgeries and health centres
  • the headquarters of an NHS trust
  • health records department

Depending on where you work as a clerk, you could be:

  • booking patients in for appointments or their transport to and from hopsital
  • chasing up reports
  • inputting patient data
  • the first point of patient contact by answering the phone or emails

Some clerks may spend their time on a particular type of work and their job title may reflect this. For example:

  • clerk/typist
  • reception clerk/receptionist
  • clinical coding clerk
  • admissions clerk 
  • ward clerk
  • clinic clerk

While many clerks will have a lot of contact with patients, their relatives, carers and healthcare professionals, other clerks may not, for example, if you work in health records departments or headquarters. You'll work closely with other administrative staff and other members of the wider healthcare team.

Entry requirements, skills and interests

There are no set entry requirements to become a clerk. Employers usually expect good literacy, numeracy and IT skills. They may ask for GCSEs or equivalent qualifications. For some jobs, employers may ask for other skills or qualifications such as word processing or data entry.

Employers often ask for relevant work experience. Even where this is not specified, it would be an advantage if you have worked in an admin or customer service role.

There are often opportunities to enter administrative roles in the NHS and other areas of healthcare, through an apprenticeship or traineeship.

Personal characteristics

Clerks need to be:

  • accurate and methodical
  • able to work in a team but use their own initiative
  • willing to follow instructions and procedures
  • able to work with all types of people
  • confident using the phone

Skills required

  • good organisation skills
  • communication skills
  • IT skills
  • customer service skills

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 vocational qualifications such as those from:

Some clerks 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

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