Health records staff are responsible for managing patient health records. They set up, update and maintain patient records, both on paper and computer.
They are also called Medical records staff.
You could be:
- taking details from patients
- setting up new records, or updating existing records
- filing and archiving records for easy access
- recording patient admissions, discharges and deaths
- directing patients to the right department or clinic in a hospital or health centre
- dealing with patients and making appointments for them in person or by telephone
- sending patients' medical records, or samples, to different departments in the hospital
- collating statistics on information such as patient transfers or admissions
- using a system of codes to record illnesses and treatments on patient files (clinical coding).
You may do all of the above tasks, or specialise in a particular area, such as admissions or clinical coding.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the department or organisation you work for
- the demand for the job.
Under the NHS Agenda for Change pay scales, salaries for health records staff are on Band 2, £19,609 to £21,615 a year. With experience this could rise to Band 3, £21,709 to £23,603 a year.
The current pay scales are from April 2021.
- You would work in an office, records department or reception area in a hospital, health centre or local doctors’ surgery.
- You would normally work regular hours but may have to work evenings and weekends, if for example, you work in admissions.
- If you work on a ward or in a clinic or health centre, you will have a lot of contact with patients.
- There may be opportunities to work part time or flexitime.
- There may be some lifting of document boxes involved.
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- A good general education is useful.
- Some employers may ask for between 2 and 5 subjects at National 4 or 5, including English and Maths.
- You could get in through a Modern Apprenticeship. Entry requirements vary, but usually include National 4 or 5 English.
- It helps to have a knowledge of medical terms.
- Experience in an office or in health care is useful.
- Good IT skills are usually required.
- You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
What Does it Take?
You should be:
- well organised
- efficient and conscientious
- careful, and able to pay close attention to detail
- able to work calmly when under pressure
- discreet and able to keep records confidential
- good at working in a team
- pleasant, tactful and able to talk to people from all backgrounds, particularly when they are anxious or upset
- able to prioritise your workload.
- You would train on the job under the supervision of experienced members of staff.
- You can study for relevant qualifications while you are working, such as in administration or customer care.
- Modern Apprenticeships involve on the job training leading to either an SVQ in Healthcare Support (Non-Clinical) at SCQF Level 6 or SVQ Business and Administration at SCQF Level 5 or 6.
- You can also study for various qualifications from the Institute of Health Record and Information Management (IHRIM).
- Qualifications from the IHRIM are available at Foundation, Certificate and Diploma level.
- Courses may require part time attendance at college or study through distance learning.
- With experience, you could gain promotion to a supervisory or management post.
- Your promotion prospects may be improved if you take IHRIM qualifications.
- You might move into other NHS roles involving patient contact, such as counselling or patient care.
- With further training, you may be able to become a Medical Secretary or move into related work outside the health sector.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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