Health records staff
Health records make sure that vital patient information is recorded and stored accurately so their frontline colleagues can access it at any time and at any place.
"I like the fact that we’re a small team – if anyone gets too busy, we help one another out until we are through it"
Each NHS patient has a record of all their treatment and care which has to be accurate and up to date. Health records staff (sometimes known as medical records staff) are responsible for organising, updating and storing records. This can be either a physical (paper) record or stored electronically - or a mix of both
Records about patients have to be kept safely and confidentially. They have to meet government and legal requirements for data protection etc. If you work in health records within the NHS, you could be based in:
- 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
In addition, health records staff prepare for storage any records no longer needed. Some health records clerks have other duties such as answering phones or in a reception area.
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. You'll work closely with other admin staff and members of the wider healthcare team.
Entry requirements, skills and interests
There are no set entry requirements for health records staff. 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 apprenticeships in administrative roles, including some in health records.
Health records staff 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
- organisational 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 qualifications such as NVQs or those from:
- Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR)
- British Society of Medical Secretaries and Administrators (BSMSA)
- Institute of Health Records and Information Management (IHRIM)
Some health records staff become members of AMSPAR, BSMSA or IHRIM. These organisations offer training, online forums and newsletters so health records staff can network with others doing the same type of work.
Health records staff in the NHS work standard hours of around 37.5 a week. Some may work shifts, which could involve early starts, evenings and weekends. NHS staff working in health records will usually be paid on the Agenda for Change pay system. Health records staff outside of the NHS will have different terms and conditions of service.
With experience, you could become a team leader, coordinating the work of a team of health records staff. With further experience, you could become a manager, responsible for the work of a health records department.
Some health records staff move into more specialist roles such as medical secretary or PA. Others move into areas such as finance or HR. You may also have the opportunity to move into informatics, specialising in electronic data, or into IT.
If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services, you'll be asked to show how you think the NHS values apply in your everyday work. Find out more about NHS values.
Most NHS jobs are advertised on NHS Jobs. Just some of the current vacancies are below.
Health Records Stores Assistant
High Wycombe, HP11 2TT
- Depending on experience per annum pro rata
- Fixed term
- Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
Health Records Supervisor
Gillingham, ME7 5NY
- £21730.00 to £23177.00 a year per annum/pro rata
- Medway NHS Foundation Trust
Health Records Clerical Officer
Stockport, SK2 7JE
- £20270.00 to £21318.00 a year per annum pro rata
- Stockport NHS Foundation Trust
Health Records Senior Team Leader
Bristol, BS2 8HW
- £23949.00 to £26282.00 a year pa pro rata
- Fixed term
- University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust
Apprentice in Health Records and Outpatient Reception
Chester, CH2 1UL
- £9405.00 a year pa pro rata
- Fixed term
- Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Clerical Officer - Health Records - Band 2
Boston, PE21 9QS
- £18870.00 to £19918.00 a year per annum
- United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
For more information about a career in health records, please contact: