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in thinking the GP receptionist was out of order?

(63 Posts)
RalphGnu Tue 16-Aug-11 09:27:12

DS has had a bad cold for the last few days and it sounds like he's got a chest infection (very wheezy, rattly chest, short of breath). He's had this a couple of times so I know he needs antibiotics.

Phoned the health centre this morning and while describing my son's symptoms with the receptionist was halfway through a sentence when she barked "Hang on!" and had a muffled discussion with someone about how much milk and sugar she wanted and in which mug, does anyone have a paracetamol etc.

Carried on describing the symptoms and she again interrupted me to say "You know you don't need to bring your child in every time he coughs, don't you?"
I told her yes, I was aware of that and if she'd let me finish a sentence I could tell her about his previous history of chest infections and that I thought it was important he be seen today.

After a long-suffering sigh she said he could be seen at 9:00 at the surgery 2 miles up the road (this was at 8:45). When I explained I wouldn't be able to get there for that time she very sarcastically said "If it's soooo serious, you'll get there, won't you?"

At this point I snapped and asked to speak to the practice manager, was told she would be in at 9am and did I want the appointment or not? I said again it wouldn't be possible to make it at that time (I don't have a car and DS was still in his pj's). She told me that was all they had and I would have to ring back tomorrow morning to make another appointment that fitted in with my schedule!

I actually can't believe the way I was spoken to, I am fucking fuming. I've spoken to this woman before at reception, she's very rude. Should I report her?

Eglu Tue 16-Aug-11 09:29:23

YANBU. Definitely speak to the practice manager when she is in.

biddysmama Tue 16-Aug-11 09:30:48

yanbu, i'd report her

at my drs 'emergency appointments' are at 6.30pm hmm

thesortinghat Tue 16-Aug-11 09:31:18

yanbu, did you speak to the practise manager?

EuphemiaMcGonagall Tue 16-Aug-11 09:31:23

YANBU! Speak to the manager - rude cow!

whoneedssleepanyway Tue 16-Aug-11 09:31:55

I would definitely make a complaint, receptionists aren't qualified to make clinical decisions, all they can do is ask the patient or the patient's representative if they need an emergency appointment (if there are no routine appointments available)....

I know most surgeries don't have enough appointments and receptionists to try to screen out the time wasters but this shouldn't mean that those with a genuine need suffer.

At our surgery they will always fit children in, no question.

rogersmellyonthetelly Tue 16-Aug-11 09:32:43

Absolutely report her. Not for the tea and sugar interruption but for the subsequent rudeness and lack of understanding about not being able to get there. Depending on how young your ds is, chest infections can turn bad very quickly, I once took my 1yo ds to the GP with a chest infection, was given antibiotics and calpol and sent home. An hour and a half later we we in a&e with him on oxygen and a temp of 40.

fedupofnamechanging Tue 16-Aug-11 09:32:47

Absolutely speak to the manager and put your complaint in writing as well. Outrageous behaviour.

RalphGnu Tue 16-Aug-11 09:34:18

Right, I'm phoning now! Will update in a minute...

Purplegirlie Tue 16-Aug-11 09:35:26

I would definitely put in an official complaint. Who the fuck does she think she is?

WobblyHalo Tue 16-Aug-11 09:35:42

Yes report her!

When I had chickenpox I was really sick and phoned in (I almost never go to the doctor). I knew I had chickenpox as ds had just had it.

When I phoned the receptionist was like this. Very rude and dismissive. Told me that I didn't need to come in for chickenpox unless they were in my eyes and throat. I almost caved in, but luckily I felt so bad that I insisted on an appointment. I also got the long suffering sigh.

When I did see the doctor, she told me that I had the worst case she had ever seen in an adult. That I was to have adult supervision at all times as it was very close to setting into a brain infection.

So much for the stupid receptionist that said I didn't need to go in.

What do they know?!!

SofiaAmes Tue 16-Aug-11 09:38:55

I learned not to describe my child's symptoms to the receptionist. I would just call and say that I needed an emergency appointment for my ill child. If the receptionist ever tried to push further, I would insist on speaking to a medical professional if I was going to discuss medical issues. I never seemed to have a problem getting the appointments I needed with that tactic.

crystalglasses Tue 16-Aug-11 09:40:30

Wobbly halo - I really don't think you should have attended surgery if you had chickenpox as it is highly contagious. You should have insisted on a home visit.

NoobyNoob Tue 16-Aug-11 09:40:38

YANBU - what a nasty bitch.

Report, report, report!

BlueKangaroo22 Tue 16-Aug-11 09:41:01

I hate the receptionists at my GP too, when I brought my daughter in for oral thrush I had to actually go to the practice because I couldn't phone in as my phone was out of action, only to be told 'we don't offer a walk in service' i told them i wasn't expecting to be seen there and then, I just wanted to book an appointment and I was told basically to go away and phone at 3.30, despite me saying I had no means to phone, she just said I'd have to find someone with a phone! I always walk in now and ask them to get the doc to call me back, as they can assess your symptoms (or in this case my dds) and determine whether you need to come in or have a prescription done etc. Which is good, to be fair.

WobblyHalo Tue 16-Aug-11 09:43:25

Crystalglasses - They have a back entrance and a seperate waiting area for potentially contagious people.

The receptionist just didn't want to unlock the back door. Had to look for the keys as they almost never use it. I also wasn't aware that I can ask for a home visit and she certainly didn't suggest it.

biddysmama Tue 16-Aug-11 09:44:58

i took ds2 to get his jabs yesterday, sat for 45 mins with a baby and a toddler in a very hot room got into see the nurse for her to tell me she couldnt do jabs cos the dr wasnt in the building and the receptionist shouldnt have book him in for them

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 16-Aug-11 09:46:47

Report, in writing, and go as high as you can. (I don't know how GP surgeries' management structure works but if you can write to someone higher up than the practice manager, do so). And I'd absolutely mention the cup-of-tea conversation as well as the rest; it's all poor service and it all matters. I don't talk to the receptionists about symptoms either. I know they're supposed to ask so they can weed out people who want antibiotics for a cold etc, and I know they have a hard job sometimes and are under a lot of pressure, but they are not medical professionals and their parameters are very limited. Wobbly's story just confirms that, IMO.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Tue 16-Aug-11 09:50:26

OP, you should make a complaint BUT... sorry to say, if your son is desperate for antibiotics and you can get to an appointment with a taxi or a friend giving you a lift, then you should, surely? If it IS that important, then nothing would stop you getting those antibiotics. It wouldn't stop me.

Lorelai Tue 16-Aug-11 09:56:42

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe - she was 2 miles away, with her son not dressed and they wanted her there in 15 mins. Even a taxi or friend couldn't have got her there in time hmm

I have had this issue with my GP - rang up at say 2.37, asked can I be there for 2.40. Ummm, no, not really.

KnackeredCow Tue 16-Aug-11 09:58:24

YANBU - report her.

My DH is a GP and he'd be shocked if one of his receptionists spoke to a patient like that.

You should never have to describe symptoms to a receptionist, who is not medically qualified. My GP practice does telephone consultations when they can't fit you in to a standard same day appointment. The doctor then assesses over the phone and gets you to drop in to see the on-call doctor (although you may need to wait a bit when you get to the surgery) same day.

Next time ask if she's medically qualified, and when she says no, ask for a telephone consultation.

And certainly complain, in writing, to the practice.

KRIKRI Tue 16-Aug-11 09:59:06

YANBU - make a formal complaint. There is no excuse for such a rude response.

RalphGnu Tue 16-Aug-11 10:00:52

Ok, I phoned and spoke to the practice manager, I got through to a different receptionist luckily. She didn't sound particularly bothered about how I'd been spoken to, just offered a weak apology and some half-assed excuses so I'm going to put my complaint in writing. DS has an appt at the surgery round the corner from us at 10:30 so I'm going to get him bundled up and go.

The horrible woman works at this surgery so I'm actually hoping she will be on the desk. She has a habit of just saying "Name?" when you reach the desk so I'm going to pull her up on that and quietly let her know I didn't appreciate her rudeness earlier on. If she's sarcastic I'm afraid I won't be able to be so polite.

Have to drop DS off at PILs after to go to work, will let you know tonight if she starts! (Sorry, not trying to drip feed, honest!)

Thanks for the support on this, I hate confrontation so feel like I had some back-up smile

clam Tue 16-Aug-11 10:01:59

Report her. The receptionists in any organisation are the shop window of the business. If they aren't up to the job it reflects very badly on the business. The practice manager needs to know that one of her staff is letting the side down - although I bet you're not the only person to suffer.

PonceyMcPonce Tue 16-Aug-11 10:02:06

Actually, if I plan to call for an emergency appointment, I do tend to have everyone dressed, fed and ready to go immediately, so if an imminent appointment is offered, we are able to take it.

Not that it would have helped the OP with a two mile walk with a sick child in 15 minutes.

Just have found it a useful tactic in the past.

I also refuse to discuss my reasons for wanting an appointment, unless it relates to breathing difficulties in which case I expect a speedy response or go to an alternative source of help.

Receptionist is also very unprofessional and reporting to PM sounds a good idea

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