Administration & business support

Administrative assistants are essential to the smooth running of the NHS in Scotland. They work closely with clinical and business teams in a range of activities, such as arranging meetings or creating and maintaining documents and records.

Administrative assistants are sometimes known as office administrators or clerical officers.

The Role(s)

Working as an administrative assistant, you may be based in a clinical department or business function in any of the NHSScotland boards. These include:

  • hospital wards
  • occupational health departments
  • health centres
  • specialist departments or clinics
  • NHSScotland board headquarters

You would carry out clerical and other duties to support the department you work in.

Typical tasks of an administrative assistant include:

  • word processing and dealing with correspondence
  • using office equipment like photocopiers, printers and other devices such as computers, smart phones and tablets
  • booking patients in for appointments
  • dealing with incoming and outgoing post
  • keeping patient records, filing, photocopying and data entry
  • ordering stationery
  • handling phone calls, emails and social media enquiries
  • help to cover a reception desk/area
  • making travel bookings for staff

Skills, Interests and Abilities

Useful skills include:

  • good IT skills
  • excellent communications skills
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • good level of plain English, spelling and grammar
  • good time management skills
  • strong organisational skills

Useful abilities include:

  • the ability to work to deadlines
  • tact and discretion
  • the ability to work on own initiative
  • the ability to prioritise tasks and workload

Entry Requirements

Administrative assistants are likely to need a good standard of English and Maths. Some office experience and basic IT skills with word processing are useful skills to have for administration roles.

The specific entry requirements will depend on the Agenda for Change (AfC) band (2, 3 or 4) for the job. The qualifications asked for may also vary depending on the recruiting NHSScotland board. You are advised to contact each individual board to find out its specific entry requirements.

Modern Apprenticeships

Modern Apprenticeships offer those aged over 16 paid employment with the opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management level.

Modern Apprenticeships in Business and Administration at SCQF Level 5 or SCQF Level 6 are frameworks for people interested in working in business and administration or customer service.

Contact your local Board to find out if this Modern Apprenticeship is available in your area.

Find out more about these Modern Apprenticeships on the Skills Development Scotland (SDS) website 

Learning and Development

You will be encouraged to develop your career in NHSScotland and you will be given the training you need for the job including:

  • an introduction to the department and its procedures
  • health and safety
  • risk management

During your career, you may have the opportunity to study for additional qualifications, such as:

Visit the VQ Finder website to find out more about the full range of SVQs available.

Gaining new qualifications will help your career prospects, leading to more senior roles with a greater level of responsibility.

It may be possible through further training to progress to a supervisory or even management role such as an officer manager or team leader.

Professional Bodies

Business and Administration staff can join the following organisations: 

The Institute of Legal Secretaries & PAs (ILSPA)

ILSPA is professional body for legal secretaries and personal assistants working throughout the UK, providing professional development and courses. Find out more on the ILSPA website.

The Skills Council for Administration (Skills CFA)

Skills CFA is a registered charity promoting skills and qualifications for businesses and those working in business and administration roles. Find out more on the Skills CFA website.

The Institute of Administrative Management (IAM)

IAM is the professional body and UK government-recognised awarding body offering qualifications in Administrative Management. Find out more on the IAM website.

Institute of Health Records and Information Management (IHRIM)

IHRIM is the professional organisation and educational body in the UK for people working in health informatics, including health records, clinical coding, and information governance. Find out more on the IHRIM website.