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Working in the NHS

16 replies

catlie · 01/06/2003 09:07

I have an interview for an admin position in the NHS. For all those people who work in this sector, what are they like for childcare? Is there a degree of flexibility? Can you negiotate working hours? Are there opportunities for advancement and do they encourage/support taking professional qualifications.

Any advice on good questions to ask the interviewer?

OP posts:

susanb · 01/06/2003 16:10

Hi catlie

I'm a medical secretary at my local NHS hospital - not sure if you're position is similar to mine or more involved but the hospital is fairly flexible. I only work part time and my position is flexible anyway but as a normal fulltime secretary you can start work anytime between 8.30 and 9.30 and finish anytime between 4.00 and 5.00 (as long as you obviously make up your hours by working through lunch for example.)

The hospital has a lovely nursery BUT the waiting list is huge, a lady I work with put her son's name down when she was 3 months pregnant with him and she finally got a place when he was 6 months.

With regards to encouraging professional qualifications, it very much depends exactly what you are doing. For example, I'm doing basic secretarial work and at my recent appraisal told my line manager that I was eager to get involved in different areas, etc and would be prepared to train. The only thing she could offer me was the European Computer Driving License which I signed up for but weeks later haven't heard anything. Nevertheless this could just be my hospital and my line manager; its not to say that your position would be the same. I also noticed that in my department of 7 secretaries, 4 of them had been there for 10 years plus full time; one of them has a degree, yet she hasn't been able to advance.

On the whole, the NHS seems fairly laid back and generous in some ways, for eg, after you've been there 4 months you get full sick pay for up to 6 months if you are ill, and good maternity benefits.

Personally though, I am fed up of secretarial work and am hopefully going to Uni in September to do my degree. Good luck with your interview.


catlie · 01/06/2003 21:11

Thank you for that. I know that there are good benefits working for the NHS (although I do not intend using the maternity benefit at any time, I've done my bit in that area).

Fingers crossed for the interview next week.

OP posts:

robinw · 01/06/2003 22:15

message withdrawn


badjelly · 02/06/2003 12:52

I've found it varies depending which department your based in - I'm lucky as the job I have was quite literally made just for me and when I came back from maty leave I just said I can only get childcare on X X and X days so that's all I can work and they were like "oh ok then that's fine"!!! But some of my mates have had a really difficult time and ended up leaving (but the departments they work in are run by dragons!).

IMO generally people try and accommodate as much as possible, especially if you are really badly wanted.

If the hospital doesn't have it's own creche quite alot have 'deals' with local nursery's - my hospital pays the nursery fees directly from my wages and therefore I don't pay as much tax - it works out that I'm about £800 a year better off! As has already been said you will need to get your name down early for nursery places though - don't forget it's not only the admin staff that will use the nursery - most of our consultants etc do too!!!


catlie · 02/06/2003 13:28

Which area is better for promotion, admin or secretarial? I really want to get on in a job now, I'm fed up with fitting around my husbands job and want to do something for me (although it's difficult to advance doing part-time hours)

Anyway, I need to get the job first before I make any decisions. When all's said and done, I probably won't get it.

OP posts:

badjelly · 02/06/2003 13:39

depends how 'high' you want to go. Where I am it generally goes admin to secretarial to management, obviously if you start on secretarial your half way there. That said our medical services managers first job here was emptying the vending machines of money! (with a pair of black tights over her head and a black and white stripy jumper!) and quite alot of admin staff end up nursing!?!


badjelly · 02/06/2003 13:40

as you can tell my works dead busy at the mo!


Firstbump · 04/06/2003 17:27


I am clinical rather than admin. But the NHS are crying out for good Admin/Sec people as you are all really valuble. Each hospital should have a vacancy list on their web site or you can get one from recruitment. Once in you can move arround from department to department. So I would not worry about promotion as there are always lots of career options. The NHS also has a family friendly policy and nowadays are good about flexible working. Good luck with the interview!!


wickedstepmother · 04/06/2003 17:51

I too have a clinical position within the NHS and I love it, I find the job interesting and the management have been very flexible so far (I have a 10 month DD and 2 stepsons aged 10 & 11 ). The staff creche at my hospital has a very long waiting list of 60 children so the childcare wasn't really a 'draw' for me.

With regards to moving up - it is much easier to advance once you have got a foot in the door and you tend to get to see/know of any forthcoming opportunities before they are advertised.

Best of luck


SueW · 04/06/2003 18:50

Our local hospital is always advertising for clerical staff but I can't see them going for my 'term-time only and by the way I'll need at least one day off every six weeks for hospital appointments' requirements!


SueW · 04/06/2003 18:53

Oops forgot - also have to finish by 3pm on Monday to do Beavers and need one Friday a month for tutorial of current training.

And forgot to say would prefer school hours only.

Shame really cos I think I could do in five hours what most school-leavers and younger people could do in 7.5. That sounds incredibly boastful doesn't it but when I left my temp work last year they said they wanted to clone me!

Not sure I could ever be as efficient and professional as DD's consultant's secretary though. She's worth her weight in any expensive material you choose!


wickedstepmother · 04/06/2003 18:54

The only problem with working in the NHS is the pay. That's why there are always jobs being advertised, there are usually better paid positions available within the private sector.


Firstbump · 04/06/2003 19:57

Well SueB I do know of a secretary where I work who does school hours the 1 day every six weeks could be discussed as if your good they may take you warts and all.

I agree with wickedstepmother about money but anyone working in the NHS does not do this for the money! I left the private sector took a 10K drop cos I love the NHS and what it offers me as a career. Yeah I know I am really sad and need counselling.............


wickedstepmother · 04/06/2003 20:04

FB is right Sue. It's a bloomin' good job we're not in it for the cash .

Anyway I'm off to watch Location, Location, Location....


catlie · 04/06/2003 22:08

Thank you for all the feedback. Anyway, had the interview and now not sure about the job (after all that). And as my MIL says "if in doubt, do nought", so I don't think I'll take it if I'm offered it.

I've got a few more irons in the fire, and another interview coming up (not NHS thougb).

OP posts:

welshbac · 23/01/2018 12:25

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