The COVID pandemic has put unprecedented stress on the NHS, which was already struggling to maintain services. Hiring is really challenging for our health service at the moment and many people would love a job that truly benefits people. Clearly, you can’t become a surgeon without extensive medical training. Still, there are plenty of non-medical roles in the NHS that need to be filled, and those that offer apprenticeship routes into a career.
Administration and Management Roles in the NHS
The NHS is a huge organisation (the biggest single employer in the UK) and it has large administrative departments like any big company. The NHS are keen to hire from different sectors and private sector experience in accountancy, HR or secretarial skills will be valued. Equally managers from a diversity of backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
The NHS is a unique employer. It has specific challenges, complex structures and very different working environments across its services. For example, the work of a receptionist in a village GP surgery will inevitably be rather different to the role of an administrator in a busy city-centre emergency department. Make sure you can demonstrate knowledge of the organisation and that you understand quite how demanding (and rewarding!) working for the NHS can be.
Jobs within the Ambulance Service
The Ambulance Service provides many opportunities for those without formal medical qualifications. Call handlers and emergency medical dispatchers are invaluable and, other than a demonstration of basic literacy and numeracy, there are no real barriers to access. A cool head and call-centre experience would make you well placed to become a part of this vital team.
Ambulance care assistants and Patient Transport Service (PTS) drivers are unsung heroes of the health service! They provide the non-emergency ambulance service, transporting elderly, vulnerable and sick people to out-patients appointments, day-care services and planned procedures. No qualifications are needed (apart from a driving license) as all training is provided. You may not be saving lives on a daily basis but you will provide a service that contributes significantly to people’s quality of life.
Estates and Facilities roles in the NHS
Across the 223 NHS Trusts in the UK there are around 1,250 hospitals and over 6,800 GP practices. Along with the other health facilities, there are a lot of buildings and grounds to be maintained in the NHS portfolio. The NHS employs thousands of tradespeople including electricians, carpenters, gardeners and plumbers. They provide stable, secure employment and everyone plays a vital role in keeping our healthcare running.
Within the Estates and Facilities umbrella are domestic services. Without a tireless army of cleaners supporting the medical staff, we wouldn’t have a health service. Cleaning jobs within the NHS are numerous and you will be a valued member of the healthcare community.
Of course, every property needs management. Facilities managers in the NHS are responsible for the day-to-day running of the building, including scheduling maintenance, hiring staff and budgeting.
Healthcare Support Workers
Many people are not aware of the role of the healthcare support worker. It is not a medical role but you will work under the supervision of a healthcare professional to support patients in a non-clinical capacity. For example, you may help patients with their nutritional needs, advise on prosthetic use or perform basic health checks. It’s a great career in itself but it’s also possible to work towards becoming a nurse or other medical professional. Doctors and nurses certainly need support and being a healthcare support worker is a hugely rewarding career. There are lots of vacancies available and you can search in your local area here.