NHS – Taking A Step In The Right Direction

The Step Into Health programme helps Veterans find suitable roles in the health service.

Many of us can’t remember a time without the National Health Service (NHS); hardly surprising given that it celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2018. The NHS is a great achievement and one kept up today, in no small part, by the passion and enthusiasm of its workforce. Nevertheless, it faces obvious challenges.

Staffing is one of those challenges. And this could be where you and other Service-leavers come in…

When we talk about a career within the NHS, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to have a background in medicine; nor have the desire to work in that area. With the NHS being Europe’s largest employer, there are more than 350 career choices available, with around half of these not based on clinical skills.


There are certain synergies between working for the Armed Forces and working for the NHS, although some are more obvious than others. For example, the chances are that you’re the type of person that wants to serve your country. What better way to do this than by contributing to the success of the NHS: helping people every day?

You probably also like being part of a large team – and teams don’t come much bigger than this. And you’re also likely to be used to functioning effectively in high pressure situations.

Your transferable skills will almost certainly give you a wide range of potentially suitable positions to choose from. Whether it’s catering, maintenance, administration, finance, communications or management that you’re interested in, there is bound to be something that appeals to you.

Non-medical management roles can usually be found in the following fields: design and engineering, estates, project management and procurement, performance and quality, project management, purchasing and contract and strategic management, as well as in human resources, decontamination services, facilities and hotel services.

Why Step Into Health?

Recognising the parallels between the two careers led to the creation of Step Into Health.

The programme was set up to encourage ex-Military personnel to explore the possible career, training and development opportunities available in the NHS and recognise how their transferable skills can be best utilised. (It’s designed to help ‘all Service-leavers and Veterans and their spouse/partner’, it can therefore, be utilised by the entire Armed Forces community.)

We’ve selected two typical management roles to highlight entry requirements, the skill sets required, the pay and conditions and potential development prospects.

Design and engineering

With the building of new hospitals and health centres and the refurbishment of existing buildings, there are frequent openings for engineers, architects and other professionals.

Design and engineering management roles include: estates manager, senior estates manager, technical services manager or building services engineer. It might be necessary to have chartered status if you are applying for an estates manager position, for example, as an engineer, architect, builder or surveyor. Each individual post has its own set of specific entry requirements. Details can be found at: www.healthcareers.nhs.uk

Whilst remuneration can vary immensely, depending on the role, NHS management posts typically start at £26,565 – Band 6 of the organisation’s Agenda for Change pay rates guide – with salaries for the most senior roles rising to £100,431 – the top of the Band 9 scale.

Whilst opportunities for development will depend on your role and the path you have chosen, broadly speaking, you could work your way from more junior positions to more senior posts, with more responsibility, typically in terms of functions or other departments.

Finance manager

The importance of financial management within the NHS cannot be underestimated. After all, patients wouldn’t be able to receive treatment or care if the funds weren’t in place.

This type of role requires keeping accounts, managing budgets and making decisions on resource expenditure, just as if you were finance manager for a major corporation.

You could find yourself working for a hospital trust or a clinical commissioning group; there is a wide range of organisation types. Work can include: payroll and pensions, accounts, financial systems (Information Technology), management information, reporting and financial audits. Openings may be in the form of management accountant, assistant director of finance, financial planning manager or head of finance.

Your career in financial management would typically start at team manager level – Band 5 with a starting pay rate of £22,128. If you were a finance section manager, you would typically be on Band 6 which starts at £26,565. Department managers could expect to be on Band 7, earning from £31,696 and principal finance managers on Band 8a, earning from £40,428. There are more senior roles and the salaries rise accordingly.

With so many potential career options to explore, a good place to start looking at more roles is: https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/Explore-roles or tel: 0345 60 60 655

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