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Medical

Hospital doctor

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

Annual Salary

£28,808 to £77,519

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 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

Your day to day tasks will depend on your medical specialty. You'll do some tasks common to most hospital doctors like:

  • talk to and examine patients to make a diagnosis
  • treat patients in hospital wards and at outpatient clinics
  • carry out medical procedures
  • create and update confidential patient records
  • work with other members of the wider medical team
  • supervise and train junior medical staff
  • 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 general medical foundation programme
  • a 5 to 8 year specialty training programme, the length dependent on which specialty of medicine you choose

Entry to some specialties is very competitive. You can see the number of applicants to places available each year through the [NHS Competition ratios | https://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk/Competition-Ratios ].

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
Volunteering and work experience

It's really important to get as much work experience as you can with a diverse range of people before applying to medical school.

If getting hospital or GP placements proves difficult, you can gain valuable skills from volunteering in education, charity, health and social care settings.

You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.

You can also find volunteering opportunities through The National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Do IT.

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.

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

You may go on to lead a team, manage a department or work in private practice.

You could serve in the forces as a doctor or medical officer. You can find out more information from:Army; Royal Air Force; Royal Navy

You could go into training or mentoring medical students and other healthcare professionals or clinical research roles.

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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