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To be irritated by Doctor's receptionist?

(74 Posts)
jellyfl00d Tue 29-Oct-13 13:49:06

I need to see my Gp this week, so I rang yesterday to get booked in, but they will only make appointments on the day this week due to annual leave.
So I rang again at 1pm which is the allotted time,only to be told their clock said 12.59 and I could not make an appointment. My clock said 1pm, we probably spoke for the 1 minute it took for her clock to get to 1 pm but she made me ring back, at which point I couldn't get through!! Arghh!confused

marriedinwhiteisback Wed 30-Oct-13 17:27:14

I think Voices post was an OTT analogy but I also think that if the NHS had maintained better more common sense within and ditched some of the PC moronics and kept individuals at its heart it wouldn't be in the mess it is now. How much did the extra layer of PCTs cost? How much did GP's put their collective support behind them? What benefits did they institute for patients? Mine had a CEO on 50k (in 1999) who couldn't read a balance sheet. They were introduced by a labour government, supported by an over politicised BMA,and had purchasing rather than patients at their hearyt lumping all patients into the lowest common denominator across two to three very diverse boroughs. I recall no local GPs speaking out. I was on the board at the time.

AnyoneforTurps Wed 30-Oct-13 13:59:36

Actually, having read voice's posting! I suddenly feel a whole lot better about the imminent demise of general practice. If you are comparing GP receptionists to the SS, then you really deserve what is coming as the NHS collapses. That is unbelievably offensive.

AnyoneforTurps Wed 30-Oct-13 13:52:02

married I don't think anyone believes it is ok to waste patients' time. However I do agree with you there are many inefficiencies in the system. The problem is that the system is at breaking point and everyone is (mixing metaphors) too busy bailing out the boat to fix the hole in the hull. Blood tests are a good example - I'd like my patients who need a blood test (unless it's a fasting one etc) to be able to have them that day, rather than having to come back especially. We do try to do this in my practice but we can only achieve it by leaving some healthcare assistant appointments free and these are often unused which is a waste when there are patients wanting them. We try to get the balance right but it is hard when there is no slack. And things are only going to get worse with 13% of the entire GP workforce retiring over the next 2 years and medical students reluctant to become GPs. In my own (friendly, well-run) practice, all the GPs under 40 have left to pursue other careers. I feel your pain- I'm currently having to wait 3 weeks to see my own GP - but I don't know what the answer is, short of cloning wink.

Having said all that, there is still no excuse for fuckwittery as described in the OP.

Dobbiesmum Wed 30-Oct-13 13:49:29

Just remember that it will be the taxpayers money that will be paying for the receptionists benefits if they lose their jobs due to not following the rules. Then you really will have something to complain about...
And you're right, Treblinka and a GP surgery are in no way comparable and a really stupid comparison to make.
Oh, and if you look back at other threads on this subject you would see that receptionists tend to be aware that the general public are taking names. That's why it's no surprise when some are followed home and threatened. It has happened many times.

SoupDragon Wed 30-Oct-13 13:32:51


voiceofnoreason Wed 30-Oct-13 13:30:38

at risk of going all Godwin. The guards at treblinka were following orders from management and sticking to the system.

They were still strung up. (and rightly so)

Before i get the clarion calls of it just doesn't compare - you are right it doesn't compare. But the "i am just following orders" " I blame the system" has a dangerous precedent and people must be accountable for their actions. The receptionists choose to be rude, nosy and obstructive. They can inform practice managers that the approach is unworkable or unpleasant, but no, they happily apply the kafkaesque rules and blame "the system" and thus it is so across the NHS. Individuals personally responsible for neglect blame the system and complicit closed shop unions enforce this.

So receptionists of the UK remember this. We the population are taking names. There will be a reckoning. grin

SueDoku Wed 30-Oct-13 12:44:10

Our practice is wonderful, they do all the things mentioned above by Lottie.

We have online appointment booking (you can choose a specific doctor, any doctor or a nurse) repeat prescription ordering, telephone appointments if you just need to check something with a doctor - and they also have the touchscreen system when you arrive at the surgery, so that they know that you are there.

You can book appointments as far in advance as you need - and best of all, if it's really urgent and there are no appointments left (such as when I had a sudden-onset UTI) you can ring and someone will always see you as an emergency....

I can't praise them enough - and I NEVER intend to move out of the area. And all this is in a small town in a rural setting - not a spanking new purpose-built medical centre in a big city smile

gobbin Wed 30-Oct-13 11:09:15

Ours can be a bit hit and miss depending on who you get but are generally quite helpful.

The pharmacist up the road is another ballgame though... I have never come across such a rude 'professional' in all my life. The way she talks to people in the shop is quite astonishing.

AmIGoingMad Wed 30-Oct-13 10:34:30

Our receptionist are as helpful as they can be in a ridiculous system that is in place in our practice. I've tried to move but cannot hmm

Op I think its madness that you had to phone back! I'd definitely be having an informal chat with the practice manager. I understand that's difficult in a small surgery though where it seems that one person had lots of jobs and you could well be complaining about her to her!

Littlemisstax Wed 30-Oct-13 10:26:08

I'm still waiting for an appointment for DS to have his six week check, he's 9 weeks now. Have a second attempt for his jabs today as the nurse refused to do them last time as he was only 7 weeks and 6 days old at the appointment that they had made confused

marriedinwhiteisback Wed 30-Oct-13 10:01:33

I was actually told, well if you can't get through on the phone, come and wait outside the surgery - if you get here at 7.50 you'll be first in the queue and be sure of an appointment. Not quite so simple with two children who need to get to school and not what one should ever have been expected to do for a routine, non urgent appointment that should have been booked in advance. But there was a little window when this was stopped due to the rule about appointments in 24 hours. Utterly absurd and facilitated by highly trained professionals who clearly had absolutely not an iota of respect for the general public.

Debs75 Wed 30-Oct-13 09:57:56

YANBU I left my old lovely drs for my new ones because the old drs had a very nasty receptionist.
She would always ask what is wrong with you. She had a very snooty tone. She once gave me a sit and wait for my 2 ds's who were quite sick. The younger had autism and was literally screaming. Everytime she called through a sit and wait she would glare at ds and me then look for another patient and call them in. We were last and ds was exhausted and banging his head by the time we got through. The dr was angry that we had waited so long as ds was so upset he wouldn't let the dr near him.
She once berated an old man who had been ringing for 20 mins at 8 and couldn't get through so he came from across the road to beg for an appt for his very sick wife. She was very nasty and the man was in tears

Appt booking is dreadful here as well though, you ring at 8am for the days apt but you never get through until 8.15 and all the appts have gone

SoupDragon Wed 30-Oct-13 09:39:52

OK. not just O.

SoupDragon Wed 30-Oct-13 09:39:30

But if it is O to phone at 12:59 and keep the receptionist talking til the allotted time, is it OK to phone at 12:58: 12:55? 12:45...?

MissMarplesBloomers Wed 30-Oct-13 09:37:02

As a counter our receptionists are luffly, and always try & fit us in if they can, & have recently been very supportive through various family medical problems.

Our house is on the market & I almost don't want to move as I've been with them for over 20 years & they have helped through 2 pregnancies, a divorce & mulitple horrible situations.

Spidermama Wed 30-Oct-13 09:35:21

If there were a practise rule in place locking her out of the software she should have said so. 'Sorry. I know it seems silly but I can't book you in until One.'

marriedinwhiteisback Wed 30-Oct-13 09:31:26

But in the last year or so I have been offered a nurse review because I am over 50 (I have nothing wrong with me), breast screening, smear tests, flu jabs, etc. All of that is fine and dandy but I access all of it privately and that should all be in my notes. To top it all off I got a letter from my health authority recently telling me I hadn't responded to screening invitations and if I didn't write and confirm my address within two weeks (I might have been away for a month) I would be struck off my GP's list. I have never been notified such screening invitations are mandatory and usually they contain a sentence that says if have x done privately please let your GP know - not if you don't take up this non compulsory invitation you will be struck off.

In short what I am trying to say is that I am offered a lot of stuff that I don't need (I really really don't need a nurse to tell me that no, I'm not overweight) but when I really really need services for the chronic health condition I have it seems as though that service is made as inaccessible as humanly possible. That is what I rather object to.

claretandamberforever Wed 30-Oct-13 09:20:40

Married - no idea! We have signs up asking people not to use their phones in the consultations, but they're free to use them in the waiting room. Very archaic rule as you can pretty much use them freely in hospitals now can't you?

I work in a GP's in a densely populated area where there is a massive demand for appointments. We have tried everything to try and lessen the demand but nothing works. As a receptionist the doctors do not want us to automatically say "there's nothing left" and be immovable. If we have appointments to offer and people want them, they automatically get booked in. If there are no appointments and the patient doesn't want to wait three weeks for the next one, the doctors want us to ask what the matter is so we are not turning seriously ill patients away.

I'd much rather be able to offer appointments to everyone who wants one, but it's just not possible. I don't know what the answer is. It's okay the government saying that they want GP's to be open for umpteen hours a day but that won't create more appointments, there'll be the same number, just at different times in the day. You can't please all of the people all of the time.

Ggsoph Wed 30-Oct-13 09:08:02

Sorry Jelly - you are OP! Not woken up properly yet!

Ggsoph Wed 30-Oct-13 08:55:58

Totally Agree Jelly - as previous poster has said there are unsuitable, rude people in most jobs and at both ends of the pay scale. I just made the pay point as I have heard people moaning that they have a 'cushy' public sector pay packet!

I suppose the reason I posted is that a lot of the complaints on here are about the utterly ridiculous systems put in place by practice managers/GPs and the pressure this puts on the patients and the reception staff. No one at the practice I mentioned thinks the system works but they can't change it without the public complaining. Maybe OPs receptionist was on a power trip and that's why she made her call back, but maybe, just maybe, they have a ridiculous rule which she was having to follow...

Alexandrite Wed 30-Oct-13 08:50:23

Ive had exactly the same happen OP. I wouldn't complain though. I think they do it as they have to have a cut off time somewhere that they stick to. If they didn't then people will purposely phone a bit early, which disadvantages people who phone bang on 3. I think it's not really serious enough to complain about. Especially as you said she wasn't rude to you.

jellyfl00d Wed 30-Oct-13 08:45:08

As an aside, I was an inpatient on the ward I work on once and. Had to phone the nurses station from my mobile for help as I couldn't reach the call bell and I was bed bound! smile very silly

jellyfl00d Wed 30-Oct-13 08:39:51

I work in a busy hospital ward, there are some staff who are paid the lowest band possible, however this does not mean they get the right to tie patients/users/visitors up in red tape, they are required to be helpful and polite at all times. The (probably small) group of docs receptionists who do feel it's ok to treat people rudely and inappropriately, should not, whether they are on minimum wage or £100k

marriedinwhiteisback Wed 30-Oct-13 08:39:48

I appreciate they follow the rules set by the GPs. The GPs are actually self employed and could chose to make a little less profit and pay a little more in order to provide a better service to their patients.

Can anyone tell me why I am not allowed to use my mobile phone in the dr's waiting room and I don't mean a lengthy and loud chat about next door's cat's sex drive. I'm not entirely certain what highly sensitive equipment is there for it to interfere with but find it extraordinary that if I step outside to phone work and say I'm running 45 minutes late at the doctors I get shouted at; and if I send a text from the waiting room I have been shouted at.

Is it something they just enjoy or are they following doctor's instructions? Actually why is that so many have to raise their voices to patients in a manner that indicates the patient is a moron.

Ggsoph Wed 30-Oct-13 08:26:53

Should add I only mention the minimum wage as I know people often assume they are paid more.

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