NHS Careers > Explore by career > Wider healthcare team > Careers in the wider healthcare team > Administration > Receptionist


Receptionists are part of the health services front line staff. They are the first link for many patients and visitors who might be anxious - perhaps visiting a doctor or other member of staff for the first time or waiting for the results of an important test.

Receptionists work on their own or with one or two other receptionists, greeting patients as they arrive and checking them in. They might also collect patient notes and ensure that these vital records go to the right healthcare professional. In a clinic, they may make appointments and arrange patient transport. Hospital departments can be busy and the pace can be fast, so receptionists need to be able to think on their feet.

Working as a receptionist

Receptionists are employed in hospitals, in a ward or clinic, and in GP surgeries. They may work some evening and weekend shifts.

Entry requirements and training

There are no minimum qualifications to work as a receptionist in the NHS. Previous experience is welcome but not always essential. Once employed, you will be helped and encouraged to develop your career and it may be possible through further training to progress to a supervisory or even management role.

The British Society of Medical Secretaries and Administrators (BSMSA) runs a number of courses on topics such as, health administration and medical terminology. Click here for details of these and other BSMSA courses

The Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators & Receptionists (AMSPAR) runs courses in medical terminology and medical administartion. Click here for details of these and other AMSPAR courses


Some of the skills you'll need to be a receptionist include:

  • efficiency
  • good communication skills
  • discretion
  • a friendly, sympathetic/reassuring manner

How to apply

Most NHS trusts advertise vacancies on the NHS Jobs website. Vacancies are also advertised in local press or job centres. Additionally, you can contact the local hospitals/trusts directly for information on their specific opportunities.

Further information

British Society of Medical Secretaries & Administrators**
2 New Cottages
Six Ashes
WV15 6EJ

Telephone: 0844 335 0636
Email: training@bsmsa.org.uk
Website: www.bsmsa.org.uk

**NB the BSMSA offers relevant training courses

The Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators & Receptionists (AMSPAR)
Tavistock House North
Tavistock Square

Telephone: 0207 3876005
Fax: 0207 3882648
Email: info@amspar.com
Website: www.amspar.co.uk