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Medical Secretary Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Medical Secretary, or a Medical Personal Assistant provides administrative and secretarial support for a medical office, department or practice. Their duties include handling incoming and outgoing correspondence, scheduling appointments and maintaining an organised filing system.

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Medical Secretary duties and responsibilities

The duties of a Medical Secretary vary depending on the position and the size and type of medical facility they work for. Senior Medical Secretaries, for example often have added duties, such as overseeing other support staff. Their main tasks generally include: 

  • Organising the daily patient list and drawing the relevant files
  • Ordering office supplies and overseeing the maintenance of office equipment
  • Organising meetings and taking minutes
  • Responding to queries from patients
  • Maintaining accurate and up-to-date patient records
  • Managing the travel arrangements in an office
  • Sending samples for medical testing, recording the results and updating patients
  • Typing letters, clinical reports and transcriptions and updating databases and spreadsheets
  • Maintaining total confidentiality of personal and financial data
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What does a Medical Secretary do?

Medical Secretaries assist in the smooth running of the day-to-day activities of a medical office or facility by handling various administrative duties. They work in all kinds of healthcare settings, including hospitals, GP surgeries, private clinics, universities, health centres and medical research environments. They either provide support for a senior member or a group of staff. Medical Secretaries play an important role in ensuring that patients receive the best possible healthcare and support. They greet patients, schedule their appointments and organise and follow up on referrals and tests.

Medical Secretary skills and qualifications

Medical Secretaries interact with people throughout their working day. Apart from dealing directly with patients, they liaise with consultants, co-workers, suppliers and medical staff. They therefore need good communication skills including the ability to actively listen to their team, colleagues and patients. In addition, they must facilitate communication between members of a team and clearly verbalise ideas and information. A successful Medical Secretary candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications that typically include:

  • Excellent customer service skills and the ability to put the needs of patients first
  • Knowledge of medical terminology to accurately type out medical reports and other documents
  • Computer literacy, including a working knowledge of relevant programs, such as Word and Excel
  • The ability to function well in a team to provide effective administrative support
  • Excellent organisational skills to ensure that an office runs smoothly
  • Ability to maintain strict confidentiality and deal with the public in a sensitive way
  • Good spelling and grammar for typing clinical and administrative letters and other correspondence

Medical Secretary experience requirements

The level of experience a Medical Secretary needs differs depending on the position. In general, candidates need previous secretarial experience and preferably within the health sector. Applicants typically need to show knowledge of administrative and secretarial procedures, medical terminology and of relevant applications, including Microsoft Office and transcription and digital diction software. Knowledge of health-related policies, such as incident reporting and confidentiality, will be advantageous.

Medical Secretary education and training requirements

There are no fixed education requirements for this job. Candidates typically need a few GCSEs, Grade C or above, including maths and English to demonstrate the necessary numerical and literacy skills. Although it’s not a requirement, some Medical Secretaries hold a foundation degree, a higher national diploma or a degree in business management or administration. Candidates can also demonstrate their skills and knowledge in the field by obtaining a professional qualification through a professional body. The British Society of Medical Secretaries and Administrators (BSMSA), for instance offers relevant qualifications like a Level 2 Certificate and Diploma in Medical Administration.

Medical Secretary salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Medical Secretary in the UK is £21,514 per year. Salaries will differ, depending on variables like location, employer and level of experience.

Job description samples for similar positions

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Medical Secretary job description FAQs

What are the hours of a Medical Secretary?

The hours of a Medical Secretary depend on their work environment. Those who work in GP offices or clinics, for instance, typically have a normal Monday to Friday, 40-hour work schedule. When working at a medical facility that offers 24/7 medical services, such as an emergency department, however, Medical Secretaries may work shifts on a rota basis.

What's the difference between a Medical Assistant and a Medical Secretary?

A Medical Assistant provides clinical support for a Doctor. Their duties include preparing patients for examination, collecting and preparing laboratory samples and taking care of routine clinical procedures like taking a patient’s blood pressure. A Medical Secretary however, provides administrative support.

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