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Medical

Hospital doctor

A hospital doctor diagnoses and treats illness and disease in patients admitted to hospital.

Annual Salary

£28,243 to £74,661

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

42 to 48 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; on a rota

6%
Future employment

There will be 6% more Hospital doctor jobs in 2025.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

You'll examine, diagnose and treat patients. You'll specialise in a particular area like:

  • surgery - care for patients before, during and after an operation
  • medicine - treat general medical conditions and work in specialisms like cardiology, dermatology, ophthalmology, geriatrics and neurology
  • paediatrics - manage health conditions that affect babies, children and young people
  • pathology - investigate the cause of disease and the effect on patients
  • psychiatry - work with patients experiencing mental health problems like depression, anxiety, personality disorders and addiction
  • anaesthesia - give anaesthetics for surgery and medical procedures
  • obstetrics and gynaecology - care for pregnant women and their unborn children
  • oncology - treat patients with cancer

Depending on your role you might also:

  • lead a team of medical staff
  • manage a department
  • teach and supervise trainee doctors
  • write reports and keep GPs informed about the diagnosis and care of their patients

Working environment

You may need to wear a uniform.

You could work in an NHS or private hospital.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
University

You'll need to complete:

  • a 5-year degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council
  • a 2-year foundation course of general training
  • 2 to 3 years of core medical training (CMT) or Acute Care Common Stem (ACCS) programme
  • 4 to 7 years of specialist training, depending on your chosen area of medicine

If you already have a degree in a science subject (minimum upper second), you could take a 4-year graduate entry programme into medicine.

You may be able to join a 6-year degree course in medicine if you have no science qualifications. This includes a one-year pre-medical or foundation year.

When you apply for a course in medicine, you could be asked to take the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) or BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT). They test the skills you'll need on the course, like critical thinking, problem solving, data analysis, communication and scientific knowledge.

Medical schools will also expect you to have some relevant paid or voluntary work experience. The British Medical Association has information on finding a placement.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • at least 5 GCSEs grades 9 to 7 (A* or A), including English maths and sciences
  • 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology and chemistry
For more information

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the British Medical Association for professional development and training opportunities.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a doctor and studying medicine from the British Medical Association and Health Careers.

With experience, you may go on to lead a team or manage a department.

With experience and entry on the General Medical Council (GMC) Specialist Register, you could apply for senior or consultant roles.

You may also progress to teaching and training students, trainee doctors and other healthcare professionals.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of medicine
  • science skills
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to use your judgement and make decisions
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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