Clinical Coder for NHS

(33 Posts)
claretandamberforever Sun 14-Oct-12 18:41:34

I know this is a long shot but is anyone a clinical coder? Or does anyone know someone who is one.

Somehow I have managed to blag an interview for a trainee coder position. I've looked into what the job entails and I am confident in my ability that I'd be able to do the job.

However there isn't many personal testimonies around on the net, and I'd love to know if people enjoy their job.

Thanks if there is anyone who can help

Glitterbug29 Fri 07-Aug-15 17:59:58

I am a clinical coder of four years now based in the North West. Most trainee positions up here start at a band 2. In my current trust, trainees are a band 2 until they have completed their standards course (roughly 3 months) and then they are promoted to a band 3. It is recommend that you spend 2-3 years coding before you take your NCCQ exam to become accredited, after which you will become a band 4 accredited coder.

I passed the NCCQ exam in September 2014 and was made a band 4 from my results date in December. I have since been made a band 5 mentor since May and I'm looking at becoming an auditor in two years time which is a band 6 at my trust.

It seems that coding departments around the country are undergoing restructuring at the minute, so it's possible to jump through the bands fairly quickly if you put the work in smile

SqueezyCheeseWeasel Wed 05-Aug-15 10:55:55

You can see the pay scales/bands on coder ads on the NHS jobs site, biziguy

Here's info on the 2015 Agenda for Change pay scales/bandings

biziguy Wed 05-Aug-15 10:45:47

Hello Sipa,

Thank you for your inputs in this thread.
Could you throw some light on pay scales for clinical coders please. I mean, beginners, specialist etc.

Also in NHS, other companies would be great.

Many thanks in advance.

mumznet Thu 25-Jun-15 12:36:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SqueezyCheeseWeasel Tue 24-Mar-15 15:48:05

Tbh, you should be more than qualified ��

littlecath Tue 24-Mar-15 15:44:37

Thanks for that SqueezyCheeseWeasel.

SqueezyCheeseWeasel Tue 24-Mar-15 10:35:56

Band 2?! That is atrocious. I would expect basic office skills for band 2 and consider myself lucky for that, tbh. Band 2 is incredibly low for a coding post, training or not. They are 3 (4 once exams completed) in my local Trust (I don't work there anymore but used to work in the office next door to the coders).

The person spec and job description should tell you what they need from you but tbh, for band 2 it should be pretty basic, skills wise with an understanding of the confidential nature of the work (obv you were bound by all that as part of your dental nurse work so you can demonstrate that), the ability to work to deadlines and sound, accurate record keeping skills (again, presumably your dental nursing included recording the treatments too - the nurses do at my surgery, anyway). Also your transferable skills from life as a long term carer - time management, compassion, patience and tenacity are valid too. If your mother has been ill and accessed hospital care, you also have an idea of the patient journey through healthcare which is what you record as a coder (the billable bits, anyway grin).

Good luck.

littlecath Tue 24-Mar-15 10:17:26

I have just come across a clinical coder trainee job band 2. I have been out of work for 12 years (i am a carer for my mum) and my last interview was over 20 years ago. Nervous about applying for a job is an understatement. I was a dental nurse for 12 years so dental anatomy and dental terminology are all I know (what I can remember). Could I possibly apply for this role? How much would I need to know at band 2?

vinegarandbrownpaper Fri 06-Feb-15 01:54:19

You have to be resilient to surgeons trying to inflate their fees by implying routine ops. are in fact specialist. They WILL use their status to try and bully you into inflating their fees and to discourage you from challenging this. You may also be 'encouraged' to use non-specific codes where a precise one is necessary and will have to ask surgeons to get their fingers out and draw diagrams properly etc Its quite a responsible revenue protection job. And you will deal with some blustering greedy deceptive bastards, but the NHS right up to government level willback you up against this inflation of roles and payments.

sipa2015 Fri 06-Feb-15 01:40:58

Hi There. I'am a clinical coder of 7 years and for those entering into the role of trainee Clinical coder be prepared for the pressure and low pay whilst training. If you don't have a general interest in this subject then I'd say it's one of harder jobs if not the most difficult in administration jobs within the NHS and the pay does not reflect the role. You are expected to constantly be updating your books and to have good understanding of what it is you are coding. My medical dictionary is my best friend so I understand the condition and symptoms that are part of that condition so I do not over code. There are so many rules to sequencing with includes, excludes notes it is constant learning but I enjoy this part of the job. It is not a very sociable job and the coding office tends to be either silent or conversations about coding. You are very busy and Be prepared to work late on deadline week. Medical terminology is very important as is the willingness to learn as there are constant changes. Excellent concentration, attention to detail and you have to be super organised and always on top of your missing, histologies and queries. Good luck ladies

Halo2015 Mon 19-Jan-15 19:22:15

I've just got a job as a trainee clinical coder on my interview I done a test about anatomy which was about 5 questions, then a test using the green books ICD10 & OPCS4 and then a interview.

Dumbi Sun 11-Jan-15 22:18:37

Got a test for coding officer and anatomy is required anyone done this test and advise what they will be asking Cheers

bantamgirl Mon 05-Jan-15 19:12:05

I was the OP of this thread (password issues).

My test was on basic anatomy - very basic. Then I was given a practical test. Left in a room with a massive directory of codes, and a list of ailments and had to cross reference the correct ailment to the correct code. Nothing too difficult. This took about 30 minutes.

And the interview questions were just 'normal' so "can you tell me your understanding of what a clinical coder is", "what have you done to prepare for this interview" and a couple of "can you give us an example of when you have worked effectively as part of a team" - I can't remember the rest as it was 2 years ago but it wasn't the worst interview I have ever had. Oh - one of them was about how I would manage to fit in self-learning as I had a qualification to work towards as part of the role.

Mina76 Mon 05-Jan-15 19:07:41

Hi all,
I managed to get an interview for clinical coding officer Band 3. This is a new job to me. I did my research about the job and read the useful replies by members here. I would appreciate if anyone has gone through this phase, the interview questions I will be asked, numeracy and literacy test? I am nervous hmm

Many thanks in advance

thenightsky Sat 27-Sep-14 21:21:24

Wow... shocking thread!

The Trust I work for are seriously lacking and doing it on the cheap given the info on this thread (which I'm tempted to show to management).

Our coders have to do it as an add-on to their main jobs. For example our procurement officer, medical records filing clerks and receptions (all band 2 or 3) have to do coding where they can fit it in (an hour here or there each week). They got a 2 day course of training.

pammy0910 Sat 27-Sep-14 21:15:01

Hi as anyone recently been interviewed for a clinical coding post. Thanks

kirrinIsland Sun 03-Feb-13 18:15:42

Thanks sorrel smile

SorrelForbes Sun 03-Feb-13 17:10:38

Sorry, meant to say 'good luck'!!!

SorrelForbes Sun 03-Feb-13 17:10:20

Crikey kirrin that sounds like they covered everything in the first interview! I expect they'll ask more of the same but could be totally wrong in the second one, but expect more detailed answers?

We used to recruit on a 3. The thing is that it takes easily 12 months (and some intensive and expensive courses) to train a coder to the point where they're really contributing to the department's targets. We kept spending a lot of money training new coders only for them to leave for another trust (offeirng jobs on a Band 4) once the traning period was up. We managed to change things so that we only recruited graduates or ex-HCPs. They came in on a Band 4 with guaranteed progression through the yearly increments if they could pass their end of 12 months training exam (set in-house) and signed an agreement to repay a % of their traingin costs if they left wihtin two years of joining . They were then expected to sit and pass the ACC exam within three years of joining and that would enable them to progress to a Band 5. We also paid a Recruitment and Retention premium to each coder of £1000 pa.

Our Coding trainers and auditors were on a Band 6.

kirrinIsland Sun 03-Feb-13 16:55:29

Sorry, should have been more specific - it's band 5, but only 75% of it for the first year.

We had an anatomy test, a coding test, and a short interview just to demonstrate that we had researched what the job entailed. Those that get through that will then have a 'proper' interview. Thanks for answering my questions sorrel I really appreciate it thanks I really want this job

Gosh, they don't want much for a band 3rd/4 do they?!

SorrelForbes Sun 03-Feb-13 13:47:02

It would be very unusual to recruit a trainee coder on a Band 5. You might want to check whether that is on completion of training (which can take about 18 months).

TBH, I've never had to conduct a second round of interviews for a Coding job as although we used to receive quite a few applicants, many didn't meet the person spec and therefore we rarely interviewed more than 4 or 5 at a time.

I would be asking some questions about your ability to focus, how cope with repetition the confidence to liaise with clincial teams. I would also ask you to a simple test using the coding books. The ability to pick things up quickly and to be prepared to do home study would be a big plus for me.

kirrinIsland Sun 03-Feb-13 12:00:24

Thanks unexpected and sorrel It seems to be such a niche area that it's quite hard to find out about it prior to interview - so your input is much appreciated smile

sorrel dare may I ask what sort of questions I might expect at a second interview?!

silent the one I've applied for is a band 5, but from looking at NHS Jobs most seems to be a 4 or even a 3 to start with. I had a first interview on Wednesday. I should hopefully hear next week if that was successful - second interview are the week after next. I have everything crossed!

SorrelForbes Sun 03-Feb-13 09:30:31

I used to manage a very large Coding Department in a big DGH. I don't have much to add to NewPoster's info apart form to say the pay can be fairly good.
In the Trust I worked in, trainees came in on a Band 4 and could progress to a Band 5 on passing the Accredited Clinical Coder exam (run by IHRIM).

You need to be able to focus for long periods of time and have very good attention to detail.

Good luck.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Sun 03-Feb-13 09:20:31

My mum is a coder, she really enjoys her job but finds the NHS a pain to work for.

The workloads seem high, you needs to get through a lot of cases in a day and pay a lot of attention to detail (errors can have serious consequences). They expect you to pass the coding exams so people have to be prepared to study.

My understanding is that it's not really well paid at first but once you pass your exams and have some experience ther are opportunities to do agency work (including abroad) plus mark exams which are more lucrative.

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