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  • Writer's pictureMax Godsiff

NHS Interview Questions: The 6 Core NHS Values Explained

The NHS was founded in 1948 with the aim of meeting everyone’s needs while being free at the point of delivery. This ensured that the healthcare people received was based on their clinical needs and not their financial position. Between then and the present day the NHS has evolved in the services it provides and it’s principles, while still rooted in its founding ideals, have evolved too. It’s crucial you are aware of these principles and values as all doctors will work in the NHS and adhere to these values. Therefore, in an interview demonstrating these values is very important.

The Six Values - NHS Core Values

  1. Working together for patients

  2. Commitment to quality of care

  3. Respect and Dignity

  4. Everyone counts

  5. Compassion

  6. Improving lives

Exploring these values and relating them to your own experiences and qualities is crucial to improve your interview answers. Considering the medical ethical principles and how they relate to these values can turn a good answer into an excellent one. Refer to our resources on medical ethics before reading on if you are unsure about this.

Working together for patients

This value states that patients and positive outcomes for them should be at the forefront of everything that a medical team does. This allows you to bring in the principle of beneficence to show your understanding of this and how it relates to healthcare. This value also raises the importance of teamwork, and the multidisciplinary team. The NHS is a huge organisation comprising multiple different clinical and non-clinical roles. Acknowledging the importance of these roles shows you are a more thoughtful and balanced candidate. Take this as an opportunity to explain your own experiences of teamwork.

Commitment to Quality of Care - NHS Core Values

This value states that every patient should receive effective and safe care that is tailored to their needs and personal values. It is arguably the most important value as the goal of any healthcare professional should beto create a positive healthcare outcome for their patients. Principles such as beneficence and autonomy, alongside communication skills and empathy, are intrinsically tied to this value. A question on commitment to quality of car should be viewed as an opportunity to address these principles or traits. Conversely, any question where you are asked about these principles or traits is an opportunity to show your understanding of this NHS value.

Respect and dignity - NHS Core Values

This refers to the need to understand the priorities and wishes of your patients, alongside their family. This refers directly to autonomy. By linking this principle with this value you can demonstrate a greater understanding of the responsibilities of a doctor and distinguish yourself from other candidates.

Everyone Counts - NHS Core Values

This states that the NHS’s resources should be distributed equally across society to prevent any group from being discriminated against and to maximise the good that these resources can provide. Justice is intrinsically linked to this value in several ways. Firstly it states that discrimination against any patient is unacceptable and shouldn’t effect their care. Secondly it guides how money is used across the NHS and which services and treatments are or are not offered. Be sure to explain the link between these concepts to your interviewer.

Compassion - NHS Core Values

This requires that healthcare professionals attend to their patients' condition in a way that addresses their physical and emotional distress. EMpathy and beneficence are key to doing this. Most candidates will have experiences where they have demonstrated empathy so referring to compassion in these experiences will strengthen your answer.

Improving Lives - NHS Core Values

This is agruably the simplest value, stating healthcare staff should aim to improve the wellbeing and health of their patients. This directly refers to beneficence and non-maleficence and allows you to strengthen any answer that refers to these principles.

By using the 6 NHS values you can improve any answer referring to ethical principles or to your own traits by showing their relevance to the role of a doctor. This will help you perform better in your interviews and secure an offer.

If you have any questions, please get in touch!

Why not practice stations about NHS core values and much more with a mock interview tailored to your desired medical school? Or book a 1-1 session today on hot topics!


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