Hospital doctor

Hospital doctors examine, diagnose and treat patients. 

Annual Salary

£26,350 to £102,500

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours


Future employment

There will be 5% more Hospital doctor jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You'll specialise in a particular area like:

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

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course


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 or BioMedical Admissions Test. 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.

You'll usually need:

  • 7 GCSEs, including sciences, with 5 subjects at grades 9 to 7 (A* or A) and English and maths at least grade 6 to 5 (B)
  • 3 A levels at grade A in chemistry and either biology, physics or maths, plus another academic subject

Further information

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

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

£26,350 to £102,500

Starter salary: £26,350 to £45,750 (doctors in training)

Experienced salary: £37,500 to £70,000 (specialty doctors)

Surgeons working in the private sector may be paid more.

These figures are a guide.


You’ll work long hours including nights and weekends. You’ll be part of an out-of-hours rota system.

You’ll spend time in consulting rooms, wards, operating theatres and special units like accident and emergency.

You could work in an NHS or private hospital.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You may need to wear a uniform.

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 and dentistry
  • customer service skills
  • knowledge of psychology
  • knowledge of English language
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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