Medical secretary

Medical secretaries work in hospitals and community settings. In hospitals, they work for a consultant or a group of consultants. In General Practitioner (GP) surgeries, they work may for one or for a group of doctors.


The duties are usually wide ranging and the main responsibilities include:

  • dealing with a consultant's or GP's correspondence
  • organising his or her diary
  • updating databases and spreadsheets
  • keeping filing systems
  • dealing with patients’ queries and concerns

Skills required

Medical secretaries should:

  • be well organised
  • have good communication skills
  • have good IT skills
  • pay attention to detail and accuracy
  • be able to work as part of a team and on their own initiative
  • be confident
  • be able to deal with patients and relatives in a helpful, sympathetic and confidential way

Training programmes and entry qualifications

There is a wide variety of secretarial courses in colleges throughout Northern Ireland.

Candidates should have some GCSEs grades A to C including English Language and Mathematics. Essential criteria may also include:

  • OCR/RSA Stage 2 Typing or Word Processing (parts one and two) or equivalent
  • OCR/RSA Stage II Audio Typing or equivalent
  • recent relevant secretarial experience and shorthand or one year’s experience in minute-taking

Career pathway

Promotion can be gained from secretary to other administrative grades and posts including office management or GP practice administration.

Professional recognition

The British Society of Medical Secretaries and Administrators (BSMSA) is the professional body for administrators and Medical Secretaries.

How to apply

You should apply directly to Trusts in response to job recruitment adverts in local papers and Job Centres.

You should check the prospectus of your local further and higher education collage for full details of available courses.

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