Health Service Manager Careers

How to become a Health Service Manager

What does a Health Service Manager do?

Health service managers are responsible for making sure the hospital, or health organisation that employs them, runs efficiently and effectively. This includes making best use of its facilities, finance and employees, to ensure the best possible service is provided to patients and other users.

Managers may specialise in certain areas of work such as personnel, finance, information technology and marketing; or the role may be more general and involve managing a particular section or department.

Duties may include:

  • supervising and being responsible for the work of other staff
  • being responsible for long-term planning
  • dealing with day-to-day operational matters
  • using statistical information to check and monitor performance and to inform long term planning
  • setting and maintaining budgets
  • working out and implementing business plans
  • assessing and evaluating the strategic direction of the trust
  • implementing the policies of the board and ensuring government guidelines are followed
  • working with clinical staff and other professionals
  • managing contracts.

What's the working environment like working as a Health Service Manager?

Although the official working week for health service managers is 37 hours a week, the job is quite pressurised and they often work more than this. In a hospital with a 24-hour service, managers may be required to work a shift system. Senior managers may be on-call on a rota basis for any out-of-hours emergencies that occur. Flexible hours and job share arrangements are sometimes possible and are being encouraged. Part-time work is not common at management level.

Managers are mainly office-based. Some travel may be required, for example, to attend meetings, training courses and conferences.

What does it take to become a Health Service Manager?

To be a health service manager, you should:

  • be able to cope with constant change
  • be innovative and able to solve problems creatively
  • have good analytical skills
  • have financial management and numerical skills for budget administration and cost analysis
  • have a high level of written and spoken communication skills
  • be able to motivate and manage staff
  • have negotiating skills
  • be able to explain complex issues in simple terms to a wide range of audiences
  • show respect for confidential information
  • be able to deal with stress.

Health Service Manager Career Opportunities

Opportunities are available for health service managers within the NHS and private hospitals.

Managers may be employed by a hospital trust which provides services directly to patients or in a health authority that plans strategic directions in health care. There are also some opportunities in larger GP practices and in Primary Care Trusts, which commission local services.

It is expected that job opportunities may decrease in the future, due to mergers between hospitals and flatter management structures within NHS organisations.

On completion of the Finance Management Scheme or the General Management Scheme, progression to senior management positions is likely.

It may be possible to obtain employment abroad.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Health Service Manager that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

NHS Learning and Development Service
Tel: 08000 150 850

NHS Careers
PO Box 376
BS99 3EY
Tel: 0845 606 0655

NHS Graduate Training Schemes

NHS Gateway to Leadership Programme

Institute of Healthcare Management
18-21 Morley St
Tel: 020 7881 9235

Facts and Stats:

  • The average salary for a company director is £97,598 per annum
  • A survey by the Institute of Public Policy Research claimed that all MPs should receive management training
  • An American survey found that those applying for senior management roles were twice as likely to lie on their CVs as those applying for more junior positions