Medical secretaries/ PA’s support clinicians and management. They take on the administrative and secretarial tasks, leaving clinical staff able to focus more on their patients.

Receptionists are usually the first people patients meet and are responsible for creating a welcoming and professional environment.
Typical duties for a receptionist include:

  • Answering the phones and redirecting calls through the switchboard
  • Booking patients in for appointments; by phone, in person or online
  • Triaging and ensuring patients see the right healthcare practitioner
  • Entering and looking up patients’ details onto the practice database
  • Answering patients’ questions and directing them through the practice rooms

In addition, some receptionists may also cover other administration duties, such as photocopying, filing, scanning or data entry.
While there are no set entry requirements to become a receptionist, employers usually want to see some relevant work experience on your CV, whether that is in a practice or other admin or customer service role. They may also want to see knowledge of specialist computer systems, such as EMIS.
Receptionist need to have good literacy, numeracy and IT skills, as well as excellent organisation and communication skills. Employers may expect you to have GCSEs or equivalent qualifications.
Receptionists are the face of a practice, so need to be friendly and welcoming. They also often have to deal with distressed, nervous or upset patients, so they need to be patient, understanding and unflappable. Using the phone is a large part of the role, a good telephone manner is a must. Receptionist work as part of a team but, you have to also be able to use their own initiative when everyone is busy.
When you start a receptionist job, you will be trained in using the phone system, IT and database, but any previous experience will certainly be an advantage. You may also gain qualifications from the Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR) or the British Society of Medical Secretaries and Administrators (BSMSA).


Medical secretaries/ PA’s support clinicians and management. They take on the administrative and secretarial tasks, leaving clinical staff able to focus more on their patients.
Typical duties for a secretary or PA include:

  • Typing letters and other documents
  • Handling e-referrals (Choose and Book)
  • Managing diaries and arranging meetings
  • Taking and writing up minutes
  • Managing post, emails and phone calls and dealing with enquiries
  • Filing and managing patient records
  • Creating and updating spreadsheets and databases
  • Ordering stationery and office supplies

In larger practices, medical secretaries/ PAs may also be responsible for managing other admin staff.
Although there are no formal qualifications required to become a medical secretary or personal assistant, you will nearly always have to have previous experience of working in the NHS and a good understanding of medical terminology and how GP surgeries operate. Usually, staff progress to secretary or PA from a more junior administrative role.
You’ll need excellent typing and word processing skills, good literacy, numeracy and IT skills.
The most important characteristics for a secretary or PA are the ability to work accurately and methodically, pay attention to detail and meet deadlines. You’ll also need to be extremely organised and able to balance a busy workload. Most practice secretaries/ PAs will have some dealings with patients and their families, so you need to be helpful and reassuring.
You will be trained in how to use a practice’s particular IT and phone systems and database. You may also receive training in customer care and dealing with difficult patients. Secretaries and personal assistants may become qualified through organisations such as AMSPAR or BSMSA.


«May 2022»
  • Meet the Surrey Training Hub's New GP Tutors

    Meet the Surrey Training Hub's New GP Tutors

    The Surrey Training Hub's team has changed over the last 6 months, but we believe 'change is good'. Our previous GP Tutors have either retired or moved onto pastures new! So, without further ado, we would like to introduce you to our current and new GP Tutors for the Surrey Training Hub. 


    Naomi Bennett - Surrey Downs GP Tutor

    Liz Nuttall - Northwest Surrey GP Tutor 

    Felicity Smee - Guildford & Waverley GP Tutor 

    Njaimeh Asamoah - East Surrey GP Tutor

    Please visit our Meet the Team page to find out more about them.



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