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NHS Doctor Jobs: Essential Career Information

Aug 13, 2019.

Are you interested in a career with the National Health Service and want to apply for NHS doctor jobs? The NHS is considered to be one of the best healthcare systems worldwide, helping more than 1 million patients every 36 hours.

It’s also the largest employer in the UK (and the fifth largest in the world), employing over 1.5 million people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In fact, working as an NHS doctor is one of the most rewarding careers in healthcare. Read on to find out more about NHS doctor jobs, including what to expect from your role, how much you can expect to earn, and the different types of jobs available with a medical degree.

Roles and responsibilities

There are many different types of doctors, but one thing is consistent across every job spec – a passion for improving people’s lives. NHS doctors are trained to create the best possible outcome for patients, and this usually involves collaborating effectively with other medical professionals to find the right solution.

Doctor jobs involve a three-pronged approach to improving patient health. Their responsibilities are to:

  • Diagnose

  • Prevent 

  • Cure

These three areas are key when working as a doctor, and offering suitable after-care is just as important following treatment.

Different NHS doctor jobs

There are endless possibilities when it comes to starting a career as an NHS doctor. Here are some of the specialist areas doctors can go into:

  • General practice (GP)

Working as a GP requires you to treat all common medical conditions. Often, this can mean referring patients to hospitals for specialist treatment. Having a good understanding of overall health (combining physical, psychological and social care) is essential in general practice.

  • Medicine 

This is a diverse area, with 29 different pathways covering everything from dermatology and infectious diseases to neurology or sports medicine. Most specialisms will require a mix of ward and clinic shifts, and a generalised approach is a must when dealing with patients suffering from multiple health issues.

  • Emergency medicine 

In emergency medicine, doctors are required to act quickly, providing immediate assessment for life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Doctors need to be able to deal with everything from head trauma and severe bleeding to drug poisoning or epileptic fits.

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  • Surgery 

Surgical doctors perform surgical operations in hospital settings, and work in multi-disciplinary teams to achieve the right outcome for patients. There are many surgical doctor specialisms, including general surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, neurosurgery, trauma and orthopaedic surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, otorhinolaryngology, paediatric surgery, vascular surgery, and plastic surgery.

  • Psychiatry 

Within psychiatry, roles can range from general psychiatry, child psychiatry and medical psychotherapy to forensic psychiatry. An NHS psychiatry doctor will deal with various mental health problems, including anxiety and depression, eating disorders, schizophrenia, drug or alcohol abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • Intensive care

Intensive care doctors manage critically ill patients, providing organ support, diagnosis and treatment. The nature of the work also includes end of life care, as well as support for families.

  • Anaesthesia 

One of the most important doctor jobs in healthcare is anaesthetists. As an anaesthetist doctor, you will be required to give anaesthetics for all surgical and medical procedures.

  • Oncology 

Clinical oncologists work with cancer patients, providing radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments. This role requires doctors to work in close-knit teams, bringing together multi-disciplinary knowledge and expertise to find the best medical outcome.

  • Radiology 

Doctors jobs within clinical radiology require excellent communication and teamwork. A radiologist forms a part of a wider team, and has to collaborate with other medical experts across multiple wards and departments.

  • Paediatric

Paediatric doctors specialise in assessing, treating and managing conditions that affect children. Jobs in this area often take on roles in hospitals within intensive care, or they can be based in a community caring for children with disabilities or developmental issues.

NHS doctor salaries

Salaries for NHS doctor jobs vary greatly between different specialisms, the number of years experience you have, and whether you work as a full-time doctor or a freelance locum doctor. Locum doctors generally get paid more per hour, and there are both short-term and long-term freelance roles available.

For most junior hospital trainees, the basic salary starts at £27,146 for Foundation Year 1, going up to £31,422 in Foundation Year 2. And doctors commencing specialist training will start on £37,191, progressing to £47,132. Fully qualified specialist doctors can earn up to £72,840, consultants between £77,913 to £105,042, and GPs between £57,655 to £87,003 (data from NHS).

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