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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.
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
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
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.
Applicants must chose one of six specialisms: finance management, general management, health analysis, health informatics management, human resources management or policy and strategy management. 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.
Another option for graduates is to take a postgraduate health services management or health services leadership course and then apply for jobs.
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 or an 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.
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.