Hospital doctor

hospital consultant

Career outlook for hospital doctor

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would examine and treat hospital patients. You would save lives and improve people’s health.

Your patients would be sent to you by GPs and other health professionals. You would listen to each person, ask them about their symptoms and do a physical examination.

You would then decide what you think the problem is and explain the best options for treatment. It would be important to reassure people as they may be very anxious and upset. People would trust you to do your best to help them.

You would do some of the treatments and clinical procedures yourself. You would need to make quick and accurate decisions.

As a hospital doctor you would specialise in a particular area and would need to keep up to date with developments in your chosen field. You could work in:

  • Anaesthetics
  • Cardiology
  • Dermatology
  • Emergency medicine
  • General surgery
  • Gynaecology
  • Obstetrics
  • Pediatrics
  • Radiology

There would also be paperwork to do. You would keep patient records up to date and write reports to tell GPs about the diagnosis and care of their patients.

You might also lead a team of medical staff, manage a department or help train doctors.


Working conditions


You would work long hours including nights and weekends, and you would be part of an out-of-hours rota system. European legislation has reduced the number of hours you can do to no more than 48 per week.


You will spend time in a variety of settings such as consulting rooms, wards, operating theatres and special units like accident and emergency.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Resilience
  • Listening
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Researching
  • Empathising
  • Social conscience
  • Developing a plan
  • Making decisions
  • Taking responsibility

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


You need an honours degree in medicine (SCQF level 10) recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC) and a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT).

To enter a medical degree (SCQF level 10) requires National 5 qualifications and at least five Highers at AAAAB or above, usually achieved at one sitting, Advanced Highers in science subjects are recommended.


Glasgow Kelvin College offers an Access to Medical Studies (Scottish Wider Access Programme - SWAP) for adults who do not have the required qualifications.  


If you have five good Highers but do not have all the science subjects, Dundee University runs a 6-year course which includes a pre-medical year (SCQF level 10). 


After graduation you'll need to complete the General Medical Council two-year Foundation Programme


A course is available at the universities of Dundee and St Andrews for those with an arts or science degree (at least 2:1). The Scottish Graduate Entry Medicine Programme (ScotGEM) is 4 years and leads to the MB ChB. There is a focus on rural health and it offers opportunities to train in remote and rural areas.


For the ScotGEM course you are required to sit both the UCAT Situational Judgement Test for Admission to Clinical Education (SJTace) and the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT).


In addition to the entrance requirements, international students who wish to study medicine must be able to demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence. Various language qualifications are accepted such as IELTS, TOEFL and Trinity ISE – please contact individual universities for specific details and scores required.


Useful subjects

Most courses require:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Physics

Some courses require human biology.

Care and social subjects such as psychology may also be of value.

You will also need

Before applying to medical school you must sit the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT).

You will need to be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

You should be fit and healthy.

You must provide evidence that you do not have, and have been immunised against, Hepatitis B. 

Helpful to have

Qualifications that offer experience in the health, care or science sectors.

Knowledge and experience within the care and health environment, either by volunteering or paid employment.

A driving licence.