Applications for our September 2020 intake are now closed.

The GMTS offers candidates the choice of six specialisms for our September 2020 intake and you will choose one in your application: Finance, Health Analysis, Health Informatics, Human Resources, Policy and Strategy or General Management.

All of these areas help the NHS to function so that we can provide first class healthcare to our nation.

We also work closely with our colleagues in the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), as their policies underpin everything we do. DHSC has its own Health Policy Fast Track Scheme (HPFTS), designed to develop future Policy Leaders who will shape and influence policies that impact across the whole of the health and social care system.  

Finance Management leads the way in helping the health service tackle financial challenges to get the best value for money and ensure we spend more on delivering our vital services to patients.

General Management colleagues work on the front line ensuring services are managed and delivered in the best possible way for patients.

Health Analysis adds value to data by providing insight and evidence, and data-based products to support decision-making in the NHS for the benefits of patients.

Health Informatics Management is the lifeline that ensures everyone has the information they need to make informed decisions for the benefit of patients.

Human Resources Management makes sure we have the best workforce to deliver the best patient care and to tackle the unprecedented change we’re going through.

Policy and Strategy Management colleagues create programmes that improve patient care through evidence-based policy, systems thinking and strategy development.

The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) deals with issues that affect everyone - from preventing pandemics and funding social care, to helping the NHS use UK taxpayers’ money wisely, and reducing future needs by tackling childhood obesity and diabetes prevention.



"The finance qualifications are excellent and when you’ve finished there are so many doors that are open to you in the NHS."

Lily Tinsley

The NHS has a multi-billion pound budget to deliver an efficient, modern, safe and effective healthcare service to our patients. As we go through a period of transformation that sees efficiency savings impacting on our limited resources, we need people capable of initiating bold ideas and innovative strategies to ensure we continue to deliver world-class healthcare.

What to expect on the Finance Scheme

With this specialism, you'll study for two and a half years. During this time you'll experience a wide range of activities such as corporate finance responsibilities, accounting and financial analysis, and methods of achieving value for money. These will equip you to deliver assessments and reports that will directly affect decisions we make in running the NHS. You'll grow a sound knowledge of local needs and integrated working practices. And, to ensure you get the most from the Scheme, you'll have direct input into how your training develops, as well as being monitored on your competencies as you progress.

A resounding success

All the hard work certainly paid off for both the Scheme and one of our graduates from the 2011 intake, when Christine Oakley received a commendation for achieving a perfect score - the highest ever - in her professional exam. We're delighted for her, her mentors and trainers.

Where it can lead - the role of Finance Director

The Finance Director is right at the heart of the NHS, ensuring we deliver better patient care at better value for money. Should you progress this far, you'll need to make sound decisions on revenue and capital investment, allocate clinical and non-clinical resources for optimum results, while making accurate benefit and risk assessments.

In this role, key responsibilities are to:

  • Provide financial governance and assurance, including a drive for 'best value'.
  • Provide business and commercial advice to the Board.
  • Ensure adherence to corporate responsibilities as an Executive Director of the Board.

General Management

General Management

"You’re given lots of opportunities to develop your own leadership skills. Not only that, but you’re doing something that could at some point benefit the people you care about the most."

Mohammed Usman Rehman

With this specialism, you'll have all the tools and knowledge you need for a successful career in leadership and management. Over the two years of the Scheme, you'll gain the skills, knowledge and confidence that will enable you to make real improvements at the frontline of the healthcare service and improve patient care.

What to expect on the General Management Scheme

Designed to fast track you to director level appointments, this Scheme gives you practical experience of organisational strategy, healthcare policy, managing change in healthcare, and many other general management areas that have real impact on the running of the NHS. You'll grow a sound knowledge of local needs and integrated working practices with the objective of improving patient care. And, to ensure you get the most from the Scheme, you'll have direct input into how your training develops, as well as being monitored on your competencies as you progress.

Where it can lead - the role of Executive Director or Chief Executive

With new advances in technology, science and medicine, the NHS works constantly to improve services for anyone who needs healthcare. The roles of the Executive Director and Chief Executive are of paramount importance in driving these improvements.

In these roles, key responsibilities are to:

  • Establish, lead and drive strategic direction
  • Strengthen organisational capabilities
  • Lead operations
  • Ensure financial viability
  • Maintain a learning organisation
  • Create effective relationships with stakeholders

Health Analysis

Health Analysis

Why Health Analysis?

The NHS has to meet the challenges of an ageing population with more complex health needs, at a time of significant financial constraint. Health analysis has a vital role in meeting this challenge through, for example, undertaking the modelling and evaluation of potential healthcare system changes and providing tools and evidence to support the decision making. Ultimately health analysis helps to provide the evidence-base and tools to ensure that the focus is on continuously improving those things that really matter to patients - the outcome of their healthcare.

We are looking for highly numerate graduates based in Leeds or London with an interest in the NHS, and an understanding of a wide variety of analytical approaches (i.e. economics, statistics and operational research techniques) and their application, to provide high quality, timely analysis and intelligence. We would expect candidates to be able to structure problems and develop appropriate analytical solutions, analysing and triangulating data, providing insight and giving persuasive explanations of complex concepts orally and in writing to a range of audiences, in a clear and accessible manner.

What to expect on the Health Analysis scheme

The Health Analysis Graduate Management Training scheme will give you the opportunity to work in Leeds or London in a health analytical team in a national organisation. You’ll gain hands-on experience of how analysis informs policy and direction in the healthcare system, and get the opportunity to work in a number of areas. The type of areas that you might work on includes: modelling future levels of hospital activity and production of tools to help support local areas for long term planning; evaluating the success of new ways of delivering care to patients as part of the delivery of the NHS Five Year Forward View; analysis to understand the drivers behind cancer waiting times; analysis of the drivers behind the growth in GP referrals; and modelling to support the Maternity Review including development of a model for understanding and planning midwifery workload.

You’ll undertake a minimum of three placements during the two years programme, across at least two organisations. During this time you’ll also work towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Analysis (the exact details of this are still to be confirmed).

Where it can lead: the role of Chief Analyst in a national organisation

Many of the national health-related organisations such as NHS England have a senior or chief analyst acting in a leadership role to champion the use of analysis and evidence in decision making. These are highly influential roles supporting decisions that influence improvements in all aspects of health and social care.

In these roles, key responsibilities often include:

  • Setting the direction for the use of analysis in the health service
  • Championing the importance of analysis and ensuring it is integral to the NHS’s agenda
  • Providing analytical links across other NHS organisations, and strengthening the capacity and capability of analysis in the NHS
  • Providing strategic leadership for analytical professions and analytical issues
  • Innovating and organising analytical resources to get maximum value
  • Providing the NHS with the analysis and evidence needed to deliver better care for NHS patients across the country.

Please note that this programme is only available in Leeds or London.

Health Informatics

Health Informatics

"The area is so vast and ever expanding that there are plenty of roles, projects and opportunities to get involved in."

Megan Reid

Why Informatics?

Without informatics, the NHS would grind to a halt. Every area depends on information to do its job, and that information is delivered through informatics. Informatics will continue to be crucial to delivering a sustainable health and social care system, as evidenced in recent publications including Health and Care 2020 and the Five Year Forward View. The NHS is part of the National Information Board, a group of national health and care organisations developing strategic priorities for data and technology.

Informatics is a fast moving and evolving field with many different areas. You don’t need to be technical but you do need to be interested in how we can use information to provide and transform patient care. You will have the opportunity to experience different roles across three placements on the scheme.

Informatics trainees may be involved with one or more of the six core areas in this specialism:

  • The collection, storage, and structure of data through processes, technologies, and information systems including the extraction of data from source systems into data warehouses
  • The coding (often called clinical coding), categorisation and standardisation of data
  • Information management, governance, security, law and patient safety
  • Business & information analysis, interpretation, and presentation (including visualisations)
  • Providing analytical and predictive intelligence to support decision-making
  • Transforming ways we deliver health care for our patients through technology, facilitated by informatics project management. This may include procurement, development and delivery of online services, health apps and other digital health aspects.

What to expect on the Health Informatics Management Scheme

With this specialism you’ll develop skills that will enable you to make a vital impact on the smooth running of the NHS and our delivery of first-class healthcare to the nation. You’ll gain theoretical and practical experience on topics such as information systems, knowledge management, project/change management, user-centred design and engagement, representation, prediction and reasoning, analytical and scientific databases and digital health. You will grow a sound knowledge of local needs and integrated working practices. To ensure you get the most from the Scheme you will have a direct input into how your training develops, as well as being monitored on your competencies as you progress.

Where can it lead - the Director of Informatics

The Director of Informatics role is to enable, promote and support the effective use of information, knowledge and technology to support and improve health and health care delivery across the NHS.
In this role, key accountabilities can include:

  • Providing strategic leadership for informatics issues
  • Ensuring informatics is integral to the NHS's agenda
  • Developing, promoting and monitoring informatics policies
  • Planning and implementing IT projects that affect all staff and departments, to deliver improved patient care
  • Directing the delivery of several patient focused departments including Health Records, Clinical Coding and Information Governance
  • Implementing direct information governance through ensuring the NHS deals with sensitive information in legal, secure, efficient and effective ways
  • Promote innovation and data-driven transformation


Human Resources

Human Resources

"I only have to think of some of the cases I’ve worked on to know that being in HR has enabled me to make a really big difference to people’s lives."

Claire Toms

As the NHS continues to go through a period of massive change, our HR department takes an active role in managing the change process. They also work to create and implement cutting-edge strategies to acquire, retain and develop a high performance workforce, to deliver a first-class healthcare service at a local and national level.

What to expect on the Human Resources Scheme

With this specialism you'll develop the sound HR practices fundamental to a far-reaching career. You'll benefit from a balance of professional development through a staged programme, and the opportunity to lead on real strategic issues. Your training will cover areas such as change management, recruitment and selection, employment legislation, team building and performance management. You’ll have all the tools, training and skills you need to take the lead in the development of HR and the delivery of good practice with high quality services, culminating in comprehensive patient-led healthcare. And, to ensure you get the most from the Scheme, you'll have direct input into how your training develops, as well as being monitored on your competencies as you progress.

Where can it lead - the role of HR Director

The HR Director needs vision and strong leadership qualities. It's their responsibility to lead the organisation's planning and talent management strategy, so we have a workforce of highly skilled, diverse and dedicated individuals who'll contribute individually and collectively to delivering high quality patient care now and in the future.

Policy and Strategy

Policy and Strategy

"The NHS promotes world-class healthcare. And I don’t just want to contribute to that: I want to improve it for everyone and change people’s lives for the better."

- Evelyn Akintomide

The NHS is at a turning point. The values of the health service haven’t changed since its inception in 1948, but the world we live in has. The NHS has to transform the way it provides care; it has to take advantage of the new opportunities offered by science and technology, and it must evolve to meet the challenges of an ageing population with more complex health issues. It needs to do all of this at a time of significant financial constraint.

Location for Policy and Strategy Trainees

We’re looking for people in Yorkshire, e.g. Leeds or Sheffield and in London who understand complexity and can design strategies that will help solve challenging problems. In this training scheme, you’ll focus on ways in which a future NHS can deliver high-quality care and improve the health of the nation while maintaining value for the taxpayer.

What to expect on the Policy and Strategy Scheme:

The Policy and Strategy Graduate Management Training scheme will give you the opportunity to put world-class learning into practice across the full healthcare landscape. In this two-year scheme you’ll gain hands-on experience of how the health service interacts with government, frontline services, think tanks and academia. You will develop skills in evidence-based policy making, systems thinking and strategy development, and work with clinicians, economists and thought leaders to develop programmes that will make a real impact on patients’ lives.

You’ll undertake four work placements in either Yorkshire, e.g. Leeds or Sheffield or London over two years and will be based in either Yorkshire or London. After a month shadowing frontline staff, support staff and senior management, you’ll spend seven months within the Commissioning Strategy Directorate, contributing to key policy areas such as strategy development, cancer care or new care models.

It’s important you understand the impact of policy decisions on frontline services, and you will gain an understanding of this through working with clinicians and patient-facing services in the wider NHS for six months in your second placement. We then give you the chance to organise your own one-month placement in order to meet any specific skills gaps you’ve identified. Your final nine months will be based in a different group within the Commissioning Strategy Directorate.

During this time you’ll also work towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Policy.

Where it can lead: the role of Director or National Director in a national organisation

Directors and National Directors of national organisations are among the most influential people in the health service, setting the future direction for over £100bn of taxpayers' money.

In these roles, key responsibilities include:

  • Delivering an equitable health service.
  • Prioritising the prevention of ill health.
  • Continuously improving the quality of care provided for patients whilst balancing the budget.
  • Maintaining good relations with the Government of the day and securing the resources the NHS needs.
  • Setting the organising frameworks for the NHS e.g. planning guidance.

Delivering key national programmes to make a difference for patients.

Please note that this specialism is only available in London or in Yorkshire, e.g. Leeds or Sheffield.


The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) Health Policy Fast Track Scheme. 

The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) Health Policy Fast Track Scheme. 

“There are lots of training opportunities, from informal “lunch and learn” sessions to the structured learning at the Policy School, to help you build your policy skills.”

Emma - Data and Information Policy

About the Department of Health and Social Care

The importance of the health and social care system is a reality for everyone who lives in the United Kingdom and almost all of us have direct experience, either personally or through friends and family.  The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) aims to help people live more independent, healthier lives for longer.

Our policies are vital to the functioning of our country, and we want you to be a part of that through the Health Policy Fast Track Scheme (HPFTS), where we are seeking to recruit 12 to 15 graduate trainees for the September 2020 intake.

DHSC is a ministerial department, supported by 15 Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs) and other agencies and public bodies, and we employ over 1500 staff across the country.

Applications for the September 2020 intake of DHSC Health Policy Fast Track Scheme (HPFTS) are now closed.

You can apply for the HPFTS on the Civil Service Jobs website HERE, although we recommend you read the details below and in the DHSC candidate pack (PDF) or DHSC Candidate Pack (accessible PDF) before you apply.


Our vision

Our vision is to set the direction and coordinate action across the whole of the health and social care system; this includes public health, the NHS and adult social care.  We work closely with our partners to ensure that everyone can access the health and care they need.

Our role and purpose

Supporting ministers in leading the nation’s health and care, our role is to:

  • Support and advise our Ministers. We help Ministers shape and deliver policy that delivers the Government of the day’s objectives.
  • Set direction. We anticipate the future and lead the debate, ensuring we protect and improve global and domestic health.
  • Be accountable. We ensure that the Department and our ALBs deliver on our agreed plans and commitments.
  • Act as guardians of the health and care framework. We make sure the legislative, financial administrative and policy frameworks are fit for purpose and work together.
  • Be trouble-shooters. In the last resort, the public and Parliament expect us to take the action necessary to resolve crucial and complex issues.

Our People 

We recognise that having skilled people and effective leaders helps us to create a great place to work and achieve our objectives.  All our colleagues have one thing in common: a passion for improving the health and social care system, and we invest in supporting our values and behaviours to create the right environment for all of our people to thrive.

We are committed to fairness and inclusivity, celebrating difference and the value it brings, respect and confidence, the ability to challenge and hold others to account, and openness and engagement, proactively and constructively building trusting relationships.

Our Scheme

The HPFTS is our exciting three-year scheme to develop health policy professionals to become leaders of the future and help deliver our vision.    

On the HPFTS, you will:

  • develop an understanding of the political environment and gain hands-on experience of how health and social care policy is developed and delivered by Government.  
  • work with front-line services, think tanks, academia and stakeholder organisations
  • build the skills needed to become a top-class policy professional and health care leader, developing and delivering high quality, evidence-based policies
  • develop a rewarding career that makes a real impact on people’s lives
  • be based at the DHSC’s headquarters in either Leeds or London and will undertake several work placements over three years in either location of your choice

Our Values and Behaviours

  • Fair and inclusive. DHSC is a diverse organisation where everyone can reach their potential. We celebrate difference and the value it brings.
  • Respectful and confident. We respect everyone we work with, valuing differences while being confident in our ability to challenge, lead and hold others to account.
  • Open and engaged. We are open to new ideas, challenge and feedback, building trusting relationships that are needed for getting business done. We are proactive and constructive in all that we do.

Foreword by Sir Chris Wormald, Permanent Secretary for DHSC and Civil Service Head of the Policy Profession

In addition to my Permanent Secretary role, I am proud to lead policy making improvements across the whole of the Civil Service as Head of the Policy Profession. I also sponsor the Civil Service policy profession standards that set out the three main areas of policy work: analysis and the use of evidence, politics and democracy, and delivery.

I am delighted to sponsor the Health Policy Fast Track Scheme, which provides an exciting and unique opportunity for talented individuals who wish to specialise in developing their careers in health and social care policy.

In DHSC, policy is at the heart of our role. As a central Department of State we advise Ministers in leading the health and care system in England. We work flexibly to respond to emerging priorities, embedding the policy standards and tests in our work. We support Ministers, including in their accountability to Parliament; set direction; act as guardians of the health and care framework and take action to resolve complex issues. 

What to expect on the DHSC Health Policy Fast Track Scheme

On this three-year scheme you’ll develop an understanding of the political environment and gain hands-on experience of how health policy is developed and delivered by Government.  Working with front-line services, think tanks, academia and stakeholder organisations you’ll build the skills needed to become a top-class policy professional and health care leader, developing and delivering high quality, evidence-based policies. You’ll develop a rewarding career that makes a real impact on people’s lives.

You’ll be based at the DHSC’s headquarters in either Leeds or London, and will undertake several work placements over three years in either location. One placement will normally be in Private Office to give first-hand experience of working intensively with Ministers. Another will be with one of our Arm’s Length Bodies or in a health and care service.

The type of person we’re looking for

On this challenging and rewarding scheme, the type of people we’re looking to develop are:

  • Good communicators who are comfortable in dealing with ambiguity towards influencing change.
  • Innovative leaders who look for opportunities to do things differently, while anticipating economic, social and technological opportunities and risks. They’ll also need to be able to manage in a fast-paced environment with shifting priorities.
  • People who can work in partnership across professions, Government Departments and with other organisations. They’ll have strong influencing skills and the ability to build collaborative relationships that balance challenge with support and build trust and mutual respect across organisational boundaries.
  • Able to use sound judgement and evidence to make effective decisions.

Where it can lead: the role of Director or National Director in a national organisation

Leading the policy, strategy and operations of the DHSC, a Director’s key responsibilities include:

  • Leading national policy for an area such as social care, population health, or the health and social care workforce.
  • Managing a programme budget to ensure the £100bn+ of taxpayers money is spent effectively, and ensuring delivery across the health and care system on behalf of the public and Parliament.
  • Leading a team, usually of 100-200 staff.
  • Providing personal support and policy, strategy and handling advice to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, helping him set direction and drive forward his priorities for the health and care system.
  • Supporting Ministers in taking legislation through Parliament to create the legal framework for the health and care system.

Pay & Benefits

The DHSC Health Policy Fast Track Scheme has different pay and benefits to the NHS schemes. Our offer goes beyond salary and you can read about these and more in the HPFTS Candidate Pack below (add final link to PDF)

The benefits include:

  • Competitive salary: You’ll receive a starting salary at HEO staff is £28,122 (National) and £31,837 (London) plus increases subject to satisfactory performance in line with our Departmental and Scheme pay awards.
  • 25 days’ holiday per year, up to a maximum of 30 days, plus 8 public holidays and one further day paid privilege entitlement to mark the Queen’s Birthday
  • A fully financially supported study package towards a postgraduate qualification in health policy
  • Extensive on-the-job training
  • Financial discounts: You’ll have access to an exclusive website for DHSC staff that provides employee discounts
  • Staff diversity networks that provide community and support and advocate for inclusivity
  • Interest-free season ticket loan
  • Rental deposit loans.
  • A generous Pension
  • Fitness centres and staff canteens are available on some sites
  • Flexible working patterns including part-time and access to Flexible Working Schemes
  • Generous maternity and paternity leave
  • Occupational sick pay


What's it like on the Scheme? 

Scott is a current Participant on the Scheme and gives his experience on the HPFTS so far


I joined the Scheme in January and it’s funny how time flies when you’re having fun.

My first role on the Scheme was as a Devolution Policy Advisor in the Public Health Directorate, where I worked in a multilateral international environment supporting the UK’s relationship with the World Health Organization.  That role has helped me develop a range of new skills and experience in playing a key role in shaping and delivering the Government's policy on EU exit and devolved administrations within health.

In the blink of an eye, and with many memories of working on EU exit preparedness, it’s time to move to my second placement shortly, which is a Private Secretary role to our Permanent Secretary, Sir Chris Wormald, which is a daunting yet fantastic opportunity!

The Scheme has grown in the past year and we have just welcomed the next Participants to the Department, all of whom are dedicated to building a long-term career within the health and care sectors.

As part of the first cohort I have had the opportunity to support developing the recruitment assessment process and the wider Scheme design, which has been a great opportunity.  I think of the HPFTS as the ‘Goldilocks’ of the Civil Service Early Talent Scheme, with many perks, not least;

  • A tailored learning and development offer, both through Civil Service Learning and the MSc in Health Policy at Imperial College London, which I start this autumn
  • Placements split across policy, ALBs and Private Office to equip individuals with different perspectives and skills critical to effective policy making.
  • An assessment process focused on building capabilities against the core Civil Service policy standards and behaviours.
  • A dedicated HPFTS team in HR and senior mentors across the Department, supporting development, providing advice and ensuring you’re generally doing okay from a wellbeing point.

That last bullet I believe to be the most important of the lot.

As I’m sure many people relate to, particularly challenging and demanding deadlines as well as the rollercoasters of our lives outside work, can impact the ways we feel about our hours in the office and having that additional support function has been invaluable. I’d definitely be lost without it!

Where can the HPFTS lead you?   

Ros Roughton is the Director of Care and Transformation at the DHSC

I started in the Civil Service in 1991 in what was then the Department for Health on the Accelerated Development Scheme.  It is very similar to the Health Policy Fast Track Scheme you are considering today.

Working in the health and social care policy area has given me a broad experience, from both the central policy area and the NHS which has really benefited both sides. My roles since have included:

  • Part of the Executive Team in NHS England, as the director overseeing the commissioning of £12 billion for primary care, healthcare in the criminal justice system, armed forces healthcare and a range of national screening and immunisation programmes
  • Director at a specialist cancer hospital, running the operational HR department for 3000 doctors, nurses and other clinicians, and setting the workforce strategy for the medium term
  • Director at a regional level in the NHS – making sense of Government policy for local systems and leaders, and influencing national bodies with insights from the front line
  • Head of NHS Pay Policy for staff working in hospitals and community services
  • Head of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury’s Private Office

Working in this health and social care has been fantastic.  

Nothing touches people’s lives more than their health and care, and I have loved the chance to help improve that – either at a local level – or through advising politicians at a national level, and working with national opinion formers and stakeholders.    

The Civil Service has supported my career throughout, even when not directly employed by them, and most recently welcomed me back as Director for Adult Social Care after I took a sixteen-month career break to support my parents who are now in their nineties. 


How to apply for the HPFTS

The DHSC Scheme is a Civil Service graduate scheme and not part of the NHS GMTS although we do work closely together. Our terms and conditions and the Scheme objectives are different from GMTS.  The DHSC Scheme focuses on supporting Ministers with the wider health and social care policy area. 

HPFTS is a Civil Service graduate scheme, though we do accept, and encourage, applications from eligible existing Civil Servants, with or without a degree.

You can apply for the HPFTS on the Civil Service Jobs website HERE, although we recommend you read the details above and in the DHSC Candidate Pack before you apply.

The NHS GMTS Policy and Strategy specialism aims to create a pipeline of graduates to support NHS organisations devise and implement policy and strategy both at a national level (including at NHS England and NHS Improvement) and local level, e.g. NHS Trusts, Sustainability and Transformation Plan areas, Clinical Commissioning Groups