Health service manager: job description

Last updated: 21 Jun 2023, 15:38

Health service managers are responsible for the strategic, financial and day-to-day management of hospital and community health services and general practitioner (GP) practices.

Modern hospital operating room with medical equipment and green tiles.

The NHS employs large numbers of health service managers, and there are also opportunities to work for private clinics and hospitals.

What does a health service manager do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Health service managers may specialise in a particular area, such as finance, human resources, health informatics, policy and strategy or general management. Key responsibilities of the job include:

  • directing, coordinating and administering medical and non-medical resources, facilities and services
  • liaising with clerical, medical and professional staff at all levels
  • developing services and implementing changes
  • recruiting staff
  • attending meetings
  • writing reports
  • managing budgets
  • dealing with complaints or problems
  • ensuring services meet national standards
  • making sure regulations are followed
  • monitoring the performance of the service and ensuring that it is of high quality

Typical employers of health service managers

The NHS employs large numbers of health service managers, and there are also opportunities to work for private clinics and hospitals.

Opportunities are advertised on the NHS website, by careers services, in local, regional and national newspapers, on the websites of private healthcare providers and in the Health Service Journal .

Qualifications and training required

There is no formal requirement to have a degree to work in this area, and there are routes into health service management for both graduates and school leavers.

The NHS graduate management training scheme is a popular, and competitive, route into the profession. It provides an initial training programme and excellent opportunities for promotion into senior managerial and specialist roles. Applicants must choose one of six specialisms: finance management, general management, health analysis, health informatics, human resources or policy and strategy. Entry requirements vary depending on the chosen specialism, so, for example, numerate graduates with an understanding of economics and statistics are preferred for the health analysis stream. The department of health and social care also provides a health policy fast track scheme.

If you have management experience or other suitable work experience you may be considered for health services manager roles in areas such as finance, human resources and IT. You can also move into general management from a medical role, for example as a nurse, doctor or therapist.

Alternatively, you could work your way up from an administrative or clinical role in the NHS or through a chartered manager degree apprenticeship.

Key skills for health service managers

Employers seek motivated candidates who are adaptable and capable of working well under pressure, with excellent teamwork, analytical and managerial skills. Good verbal and written communication skills are essential, as is a mature, confident and sensitive manner.

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