Senior Secretary

Senior Secretary

Due to service expansion, our forensic mental health team is seeking an experienced, motivated senior secretary.

The Forensic Service provides support for service users in Somerset who experience mental health difficulties and are in contact with the criminal justice system, or who present with significant risks to others.

You will be providing specialist secretarial support for the senior clinicians and managers in the service, whilst supporting the needs of the wider team.


Main duties of the job


The role requires an enthusiastic individual who is able to work independently and as a member of a team. You will be able to prioritise your workload and be an effective communicator with patients, their carers/relatives, members of the multidisciplinary team and other health care professionals.


Working for our organisation


The Forensic Service provides support for service users in Somerset who experience mental health difficulties and are in contact with the criminal justice system, or who present with significant risks to others.

Somerset NHS Foundation Trust is the leading provider of Community Health and Mental Health services in Somerset and the surrounding area. We work in partnership to improve the health and wellbeing of patients and their families by providing safe and responsive services of the highest quality.


Detailed job description and main responsibilities

Communication and Key Working Relationships

Be a main point of contact for the locality, having full knowledge of specialty processes, or know where to resource help or to find answers.

To work as part of a team providing comprehensive secretarial support to the Consultant psychologist, Operational Manager, and other members of the team or department as directed.

Answering telephone calls on behalf of the team and dealing with them in a polite and efficient manner.  Enquiries/contact can be via telephone, correspondence, email or face-to-face requiring a sensitive and patient manner.  The post holder will require a high level of competence and confidence with a strict requirement of confidentiality

The post holder will have regular contact with clients and carers arranging appointments and/or admissions and will be required to use tact and diplomacy.  From time to time there will be a requirement to deal with difficult telephone calls from highly distressed clients or their carers, requiring sensitive reassurance and advice as appropriate within the remit of the role.

Typing of a wide range of documentation, for example letters, reports, discharge summaries, appointment letters, referral letters.  Documentation will frequently be of a confidential and sensitive nature and will require concentration and accuracy.

To deal efficiently and effectively with patient enquiries, resolving them where appropriate or directing them to the appropriate personnel.

Regular liaison with multidisciplinary teams and external agencies such as GP surgeries, other NHS Trusts, Social Services staff.

Providing a senior administrative presence to minute complex meetings which will involve outside agencies including, police, probation, and secure hospital settings. These meetings will include distressing information related to offences and public protection.

To ensure that all sickness absence in the Forensic team is reported correctly by notifying the appointed administrator for sickness absence.

Supervise and lead a locality administration team on a daily basis to achieve high quality, efficient and effective outputs in line with Trust standards. Carry out regular 1:1 meetings with staff under mentorship/supervision, recording progress and agreed action plans

Work with the administration lead to organise cover for periods of absence and assist in the emergency cover of specific work (i.e. urgent letters/reports) if required to ensure turnaround times and standards are maintained.

Planning and Organisation

To prioritise own workload on a day-to-day basis, ensuring that any urgent referrals or tasks are highlighted to the appropriate personnel.  To adjust the daily workload of the admin team according to changes in appointments, clinics or meetings as required.

Assisting in the organisation of the workload of the Consultant and the team, arranging and coordinating diaries and preparing relevant paperwork for meetings as required.

Monitor patient access, e.g. ensure clinics are full to capacity, remove referrals as necessary

Maintain and monitor outpatient clinic referral letters.

Ensuring all client files are kept up to date and accurate and stored securely in a confidential environment.  Taking responsibility for the retrieval and return of files for clinics and liaising with external agencies as required when patients are transferred.

To plan, organise and arrange meetings on behalf of the team.  Preparing papers, booking accommodation and refreshments, taking minutes and circulating documentation appropriately.

To devise, set up and maintain, effective office systems e.g. ensuring an accurate and confidential filing system is maintained, managing eroster, EOL for the team.

Support Consultant / managers in their additional roles (Clinical Director, Clinical Lead, Audit Lead etc, investigations etc.)

Assist with organisation of recruitment/induction/appraisals.

Be prepared to share expertise and work flexibly across the Trust if required.


Frequent unforeseen interruptions which may require immediate assessment and action.

Concentration for long periods of time when preparing reports, presentations, taking and transcribing minutes.

Manages conflicting demands within the job role on a daily basis.

Responsibility for Patient / Client Care, Treatment & Therapy

Respond to patient / relative/ / Colleague queries / issues to support the Directorate as needed.

Work with administrators and clinicians to resolve issues with appointment bookings, clinic sessions and group therapy sessions.

Support Senior Managers at complaint meetings to record minutes and action response letters.

Policy, Service, Research & Development Responsibility

Have relevant and up to date knowledge of the Trust’s Access and Health Records Standards Policies.  Be responsible for updating own knowledge as and when necessary

Assist clinical staff with audit, research etc., providing information from databases or medical records

Follow Trust guidelines for secretarial and clerical services.

The post holder should ensure the confidentiality of all patients’ healthcare records is strictly maintained at all times within the team

Be proactive and positively contribute to quality improvement proposals/changes to procedures, supporting clinicians to adopt such changes to their working practices

Support training/advising on admin procedures and sharing knowledge.


Responsibility for Finance, Equipment & Other Resources

To have some financial responsibility e.g. responsibility for petty cash, responsibility for stationery ordering or maintenance or responsibility to manage invoices or to handling client monies or property.

Responsibility for Supervision, Leadership & Management

To provide daily supervision and positive leadership of the local administration team carrying out regular 1-1supervison / mentoring meetings, appraisal with staff recording progress and agreed action plans.

Act as a positive role model and lead by example.

Provide or arrange cross cover of colleagues during periods of absence, including acting up and down when required.

Assist with interviewing and recruitment to include preparing questions for interviews, interviewing, feedback, and completion of associated paperwork.

Be responsible for welcoming, coaching, mentoring, induction and training of junior secretarial staff (including those helping the team in the short term)– managing and delegating work, identifying training needs, and the initial stages to address poor performance

Liaise with Administration Lead regarding progress of secretarial team and bank staff, highlighting any potential problems at an early stage

Conduct initial return to work interviews following absence.

Deal with secretarial issues in the absence of the Administration Lead flagging problems to management as appropriate.


Information Resources & Administrative Duties

Create and maintain specialised databases (Involves: setting up, updating and retrieval of statistics) e.g. recording demand, caseload statistics, waiting lists, attendance.  Providing data as required

Have a comprehensive understanding of the Trust information systems/specialty systems Provide training and support for staff

Transcribe specific PA correspondence and assist specialty in maintaining workload as appropriate

Maintenance of the Electronic Patient Record (RiO) including recording attendance, logging appointments, entering new referrals, adding appointment outcomes in a timely manner.  This work is of a highly confidential and sensitive nature. To support the Service Lead in maintaining the team’s caseload on RiO.

Transcription of audiotapes and taking dictation in person or over the telephone.

To be a regular VDU user with advanced keyboard skills and to have a knowledge of clinical Terminology.

Required to spend a considerable period of a working day sitting in front of a VDU.


Any Other Specific Tasks Required

To attend all appropriate mandatory training and update training and to participate in the Trusts annual appraisal and personal development plan processes.

Occasional requirement to participate in Trust staff surveys.

To adhere to Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust policies and procedures, particularly in relation to confidentiality, health and safety and financial instructions.  To ensure that local policies and procedures are implemented in relation to the post and the team.

Minimal requirement to travel in connection with the post to attend meetings or training events.

Person specification


Essential criteria
  • Diploma level/NVQ 3 in Business Administration or equivalent
  • ECDL or equivalent (or equivalent/working towards
  • RSA Stage III or equivalent typing/word processing including audio typing
  • Level 3 Leadership & Management or willing to work towards
  • In depth knowledge of and experience of advanced use of Microsoft office
  • Audio Typing Skills and/or ability to take dictation.
  • Knowledge of medical terminology.
  • At least 3 years’ experience of working at a senior secretarial level.
  • Experience of dealing with sensitive and distressing issues.
  • Experience of dealing with multi-disciplinary teams and external agencies.
  • Experience of setting up and maintaining office systems
  • able to work as part of a team and on own initiative.
Desirable criteria
  • AMSPAR Diploma (Medical administration)
  • Supervision training
  • Ability to manage diaries / schedule appointments for the Consultants

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Job Overview
  • Hours Per Week
  • Salary
    £22,549 - £24,882 pr
  • Job Category
    Admin / Clerical / Reception
  • Disability Confident
Job Location