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GP's Receptionist


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Is it just me or is anyone else sick to the back teeth of Doctors receptionists asking why I want to see my GP Ihave had three different reasons why they ask this on three different occasions, to which I've basically told them what is wrong with me, is between myself and my doctor.

Are they qualified to diagnose my illness? I don't think so, what business do they have in asking what could be a very personal question?

Is there any way of stopping these wannabe doctor receptionists from asking this every time I make an appointment?

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I had this problem last week. I said that I need to see someone asap and she asked why. I said it's for a letter (I was not going to tell her that it's because my bladder doesn't work properly and I need help) and she said "that's not an emergency is it?" Since when did asap and emergency mean the same thing?

 

Apparently, it's so whether they can decide whether it's an emergency or not. But like you say, they're not medically qualified to decide that. And it's possible what you thought was a mild problem is something serious.

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They do have to decide if a call needs to see the Dr needs a call back etc, TBH someone has to. they do err onb the side of caution for example a person who fells a bit stressed may be less urgent than a person with chest pains. if you dont want to tell them whats wrong just say you cant discuss it most are quite reasonable if you are reasonable with them

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They do have to decide if a call needs to see the Dr needs a call back etc, TBH someone has to. they do err onb the side of caution for example a person who fells a bit stressed may be less urgent than a person with chest pains. if you dont want to tell them whats wrong just say you cant discuss it most are quite reasonable if you are reasonable with them

 

I know when I'm ill, and I avoid the surgery like the plague I only go when absolutely necesary, I know when I need to see a GP, I do not want to have to tell some jumped up power hungry receptionist what my problems are, and I'm getting fed up of telling them that it's nothing to do with them, I asked for a general appointment and was told that it would be four weeks away, she then asked if I wanted an emergency appointment, to be seen on the day, well what would you say? obviously, just shows it didn't really matter what my problem was.

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Well the Drs are obviously happy with the system or they would change it, tbh i quite liked the old way when you just turned up and waited, when you see how many people dont turn up for appointments every month it makes you wonder if they got better in the time they had to wait for an appointment

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Many GP receptionists have worked in surgeries for years, they take part in regular training (one afternoon per month) and over time they do pick up a certain amount of knowledge, as we all should. TBH, most people know the difference between a real emergency and something that can wait a few days. Clearly sudden onset chest or severe abdominal pain, continuous vomiting over a long period might be classed as emergency but a niggling or even severe pain in the hip, for example, is not. When they ask what's wrong they are not doing it because they are "power hungry" or "jumped up" or want to be nosey. They are part of the team working with your GP and really are there to help both patients AND clinical staff. It's not unheard of for GPs themselves to be angry with reception staff, if someone is squeezed onto the list with just a minor problem.

 

Please have some understanding that they are only trying to do their job, as instructed by the GPs.

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Consider it the other way round. You need to see the GP and the receptionist can see an urgent appointment is available for today or it's a case of wait until a week next Thursday for a routine appointment. The receptionist asks what it's about and you mention something which is on their trigger list for offering urgent appointments (some things like sudden onset pain, breathing difficulties, young child with high temperature or such things) they can offer you the same day appointment but, if you were to say it was to discuss medications or a change of treatment plan after reading about seeing something online, then you'd be able to wait a bit longer to be seen.

 

Feebee_71

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I have to say the receptionists at my local surgery are all angels! Neither I nor my family have ever been turned away if we've needed to see a doctor; they've moved heaven & earth on occasion so one of us could be seen the same day. They're always polite, cheerful and helpful, despite being run off their feet. They do a sterling job and I've been indebted to them many times!

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I think as always you will get the good and the poor (or jobsworth) with the latter making it bad for ALL as most people only ever complain - they dont praise.

 

At the medical practice I use, my GP actually makes his own appointments due to the fact that the receptionists hired are indeed "jobsworths". I have seen him many a time in conflict with the receptionists because of this.

 

I too would like a return to the old ways where people simply turned up and took their turn. It worked far better IMHO.

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Many GP receptionists have worked in surgeries for years, they take part in regular training (one afternoon per month) and over time they do pick up a certain amount of knowledge, as we all should. TBH, most people know the difference between a real emergency and something that can wait a few days. Clearly sudden onset chest or severe abdominal pain, continuous vomiting over a long period might be classed as emergency but a niggling or even severe pain in the hip, for example, is not. When they ask what's wrong they are not doing it because they are "power hungry" or "jumped up" or want to be nosey. They are part of the team working with your GP and really are there to help both patients AND clinical staff. It's not unheard of for GPs themselves to be angry with reception staff, if someone is squeezed onto the list with just a minor problem.

 

Please have some understanding that they are only trying to do their job, as instructed by the GPs.

 

I take it from this reply that you might have something to do with a GP's surgery?

I've had three appointments recently after putting up with the symptoms for over a week, and each time I asked for an appointment I was given different reason for asking what was wrong with me, 1 it is surgery policy, 2 it is to decide wether to give you a 5min or 7min appointment? (it takes 5mins to find the consulting room), 3 to give you the best doctor for the ailment, what a load of tosh, so I'm sure if it was a case of either reason they would get their stories straight.

I worked in the building trade for many years and "over time picked up a certain amount of knowledge" but I wouldn't say that I could plaster a wall or hang a door correctly!!! it wasn't my trade, I'm sure you get my drift, we're talking about peoples health here, surely people are not that stupid that they would go and waste the doctors time with runny nose and expect that to be an emergency, maybe they do!! if they do then fair enough.

The receptionist at my elderly mothers surgery (bear in mind that she cannot stand for long) ignored her and kept her waiting at her little window whilst she carried on talking to another person behind her untill I butted in and reminded her that we were here, these people have a little bit of power and are going to use it no matter what.

 

I will be telling them to make a note on my records not to ask me what is wrong with me in future.

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signmaker, you could and probably should make a complaint to the Practice Manager.

 

Most people find it difficult to explain to their GPs what is wrong with them because it might be of a personal nature. Having to explain to a receptionist what is wrong before they can even get to a GP might well prevent people from even attempting to make an appointment.

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Advice & opinions given by citizenb are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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I think GP's make the snowballs and get the receptionist to throw them, it's their delivery that warrants a bit of finesse..

My surgery operates on the 'ring at 8 for a morning appointment or 11 for an afternoon appointment'. It's the most stressful set up ever. The other day we used the house phone and 3 mobiles all ringing dead on 8 to

secure an appointment. It was utterly ridiculous but hilarious. We are never asked why we want to see the doctor unless a house call is required, that's when the receptionists turn into interrogators, I suppose it's to stop time wasters x

scotgal 

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i think some receptionists are very one minded they treat everyone who rings up the same ,when everyones medical urgencies are different and we all see our ailments as important,i have to add my recent run in with gp receptionists,i rang to ask if my mother could see the dr urgently that day as she is on chemo treatment and needed checking over as advised by the oncology nurse that we had rang earlier,the reception said i have no appoints to day but the gp can ring you ring you back and consult over the phone,i then explained this was not gd enough and that a gd gp examines patients and needs to see them before writing perscriptions,all of a sudden she agreed and said come down at 3.result :-)

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I wanted to change my GP because of the evil receptionist. When I asked my mates, they told me their GPs' receptionists were even worse. It's the price to pay for being poor. I am sure if I went to a private practice I would get 1st class treatment.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for Poundland"

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San_d,

 

If you went to a private practice you would spend your time wondering if the receptionists were being nice to you because they were/are genuinely nice people or just because you're paying them good money!!

 

I can genuinely say my GP's receptionists are the loveliest group of ladies you could meet - they don't grill you when ringing up for an appointment, they ask if it's something that can wait or not; they'll suggest a call back from a GP if they can't offer you an appointment as the GP's are the only one's who can overbook the system; they print things out without an inquiry as to xjw you need it and will give you a glass of water on request!!

 

Oh, and I don't work for the surgery, it's just not fair to hear only complaints/bad comments about these important people!!

 

Feebee_71

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San_d,

 

If you went to a private practice you would spend your time wondering if the receptionists were being nice to you because they were/are genuinely nice people or just because you're paying them good money!!

 

It's because I pay them good money and there's nothing wrong with that. In the case of the GP's it's not just about money, it's about lack of respect for the patient.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for Poundland"

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Somebody mentioned the 'didn't turn up for appointment' list displayed in the GP surgery, I have to say that that list is very very flawed.

 

If somebody dies and their appointments are cancelled they are counted as no shows.

 

If you phone up on the day (or the day before) your appointment and change it is is counted as a no show.

 

If somebody moves out of the area and cancels their appointment it is shown as a no show

 

If somebody is in hospital on the day of their appointment (due to an emergency or escalation of an existing condition) it is classed as a no show.

 

I know this because I used to work in Clinical Audit and the person who did the GP data was next to me....

 

They do not show

 

Number of patients booked into a clinic where there is no doctor available (has happened to me twice now - each time complaint put in copied to local MP who is also Care Minister)

 

There are a few more examples I can quote but I am not sure they have eliminated them from the list.

 

They are trying to shift the 'guilt' onto the patient rather than the poor administration at the surgery.

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My local GP does the "ring at 8" thing, I too have used several numbers to get to them. In my area people are lining up on the doorstep of the surgery at 8 so they can get an appointment...

 

That system stinks and should be abolished.

 

I also had the incidence of a 2 week trial of a drug, the GP specificially wanted to see me on x date, and when I went to the reception to book on the way out I was told 'Sorry but no...' I said I wanted to go back to the GP and get a letter from him stating I MUST be seen, they spoke to the GP on the phone and then gave me the appointment.

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**I can genuinely say my GP's receptionists are the loveliest group of ladies you could meet - they don't grill you when ringing up for an appointment, they ask if it's something that can wait or not; they'll suggest a call back from a GP if they can't offer you an appointment as the GP's are the only one's who can overbook the system; they print things out without an inquiry as to xjw you need it and will give you a glass of water on request!!

 

Oh, and I don't work for the surgery, it's just not fair to hear only complaints/bad comments about these important people!!

 

Feebee_71**

 

 

my surgery is the same, ever so helpful, I moved away for 12 years but moved back recently and reregistered at my old ( now current) surgery.

Drs and staff go out of their way to help.

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signmaker, you could and probably should make a complaint to the Practice Manager.

 

Most people find it difficult to explain to their GPs what is wrong with them because it might be of a personal nature. Having to explain to a receptionist what is wrong before they can even get to a GP might well prevent people from even attempting to make an appointment.

 

Good advice thank you, and I'm sure you have a point about getting past the receptionist first, less patients to see, less work, more money saved.

 

Freebee_71,

If I could afford to pay for my treatment, I would expect the receptionist to be nice to me wether they were genuine people or not, I would be paying their wages, but even so, it should be part of a receptionists job to be freindly, polite and helpful at all times, surely.

If the staff are as nice as you say they are, you are among the few lucky ones.

I do hope that you are praising them on their website if they have one, for all to see.

Praise is earnt, it's not given out easily in my book, and all I said was that I'm sick of being grilled by medically untrained people as to what my ailment is, and yes wouldn't it be nice to have the perfect set up. again inhouse training maybe.

By what I've read on here receptionists need lessons in how to be people persons, is that the right way to put it? some of these people have been in the job that long that they become complacent, then tend to forget their basic manners when speaking to you.

As for them answering the telephones when you try to make an appointment, well I'll not even go there.

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2 it is to decide wether to give you a 5min or 7min appointment? (it takes 5mins to find the consulting room)

 

Interesting. Regardless of what our issue is, we get 10 minutes. But we can book appointments for longer, if it's for things like minor surgery.

 

My surgery has a policy of ring at 8 for an appointment. But you can't ring at 8 because everyone else is. I have sometimes managed to walk in, ask for an appointment and get one for the next day. Unless it's to see a certain GP, in which case it can take longer.

 

Most people find it difficult to explain to their GPs what is wrong with them because it might be of a personal nature. Having to explain to a receptionist what is wrong before they can even get to a GP might well prevent people from even attempting to make an appointment.

 

I've had this a few times. I am willing to explain that yes, I've had a minor reaction to my medication and need to see someone to get something; but nothing personal.

 

I can understand them asking why you need to see a nurse. I booked an appointment with my GP who looked at my ears and decided that they needed to be syringed, gave me a prescription and a note to ask for an appointment with the nurse in 2 weeks time. I handed the piece of paper to the receptionist and there was a nurse there. The nurse asked if I'd been given ear drops (if you don't receive free prescriptions, my GP sometimes suggests buying OTC as it's cheaper) and told me that they need to be used for at least 5 days before seeing the nurse.

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I am glad i came across this as I have just had a massive row with with GP receptionist. I had a 10am appt this morning I was still waiting at 10.15 no problem Dr are busy don't mind waiting. However an old boy came in and the receptionist started to shout at him, he came and sat next to me and he was CRYING

turns out his transport was late and he was late for his appt and was told he would have to wait until end of surgery to be seen. - fair enough you may say - however it turns out that he was seeing the same Dr as me and had the 10.10 appt

 

Cue me having a right go at reception explained that I had the appt before old man and I was still waiting so why couldn't he be seen after me as DR was running late. She told me that it was none of my Business

 

At that point GP came out and called me in so I told him to see the old man first and I would wait until end of surgery, The GP was very good and said the old man would be seen after me, but I hung around until I saw him go in.

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I remember a receptionist in the practice I done my nursing placement used to ask all sorts of strange questions and decide if it merited seeing the dr. She could be overheard telling patients to go to the chemist as the dr was too busy for that stuff.

 

The patients became wise to her and started complaining of severe ailments I.e. blood in their stools, loss of hearing etc. She would book them in right away. Of course they didnt have anything serious wrong with them but where guaranteed a quick appointment.

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