Working For The NHS
The NHS is largest employer in the UK and Europe, and one of the largest in the world. It employs over 1.5 million people in hundreds of different roles. Chances are, if you’re a qualified medical professional, you’ll work for the NHS.
It’s true that there is a shortage of GPs and nurses in the NHS, so they are usually looking to recruit more. But the system also requires an enormous amount of skilled and hardworking people to be effective, from allied healthcare workers to porters, technicians and engineers (to name only a few). Explore some of the options on Step into the NHS.
This pages answers the following questions about working for the NHS:
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- What are the negatives of working for the NHS?
- What are the benefits of working for the NHS?
- What can I expect working for the NHS?
What are the Benefits of Working for the NHS?
Whichever role you work in, the NHS is a public sector employer that offers tangible benefits, including:
- Flexible working hours
- A final salary pension scheme
- Health professionals such as nurses, physiotherapists and radiographers can have their tuition fees paid for by the NHS, with additional maintenance support
- A graduate training scheme to get into healthcare management
- Flexible career paths within the system
What are the Negatives of Working for the NHS?
As a medical health professional working for the NHS, you should also be prepared for the following:
- Occasional long or unsociable hours
- A high level of accountability
- Flexibility – it is sometimes necessary to move around to take up jobs in different areas of the country
At your medical school interview, you might be asked which aspects of the working life of a doctor do or don’t appeal to you, so it’s important you’re aware of what working as a doctor is really like!
Get answer guides on our Interview Question Bank
What Can I Expect Working for the NHS?
Qualified doctors can expect an employment rate of around 99.3%, the highest of any degree subject. The rate slightly changes depending on which medical school you go to, but not by very much.
Pay freezes over recent years have angered unions, and cuts have made it slightly harder to get and maintain some NHS jobs. However, if you choose to work as a doctor, you will be guaranteed a reasonable salary during your training which will increase with experience. And doctors have been historically less affected by recessions than those working in the private sector.
There are over 60 specialisms to choose from.
As a qualified doctor, you can also consider taking your career down the following options within the NHS:
- Teaching and training
Being a medical professional is demanding but ultimately very rewarding. Any NHS job will require being part of a team of professionals and non-medical staff working hard to meet NHS standards of care.