Advanced search think this doctor's receptionist is a complete jobsworth and to consider complaining?

(23 Posts)
Weegle Tue 04-Nov-08 09:54:38

or is it just the way things are?

I am a "regular" at our surgery due to chronic condition in an acutely active phase and frequently need to have blood tests & often follow up appointments with my GP. Whenever I ring up to make the tests/appointments whether or not I can get an appointment on the right day at a suitable time completely depends on which receptionist answered the phone. One is completely obtuse and her stock answer is "none available that day, it'll have to be the following week" (I normally have at least 6 days notice of when I need the appt), yet if I say "could you check with Dr M as he said he needed to see me by x date" she immediately (without speaking to doctor) suddenly finds an appointment. This morning she did it again - this time for a very specifically timed blood test which has to be done next Monday. Ring up "no appointments that day, it'll have to be next Friday". So I say "It's an X test, it needs to be Monday" and she says "right Monday at 12.30pm". Come on????? There are obviously appointments available and she just won't hand them out. I'm so much of a regular and "known" at this surgery (unfortunately) that one of the other receptionists recognises my voice, the secretary greets me and DS by name, and if I'm having problems I will be put on hold and a GP always says get me an appointment that day, so it's not like I'm messing about. It REALLY gets to me, that I have to psych myself up for a battle just ringing the bloody doctors.


unaccomplishedfattylegalmummy Tue 04-Nov-08 10:22:56

YANBU a doctors receptionist reduced my mum to tears last week all because she was 2 minutes late for an appointment. shock The doctor gave the receptionist a right telling off though. grin

It baffles me how horrible some can be. They're all like this at my mum's surgery yet at my GPs they couldn't be more lovely and bend over backwards to help you.

Weegle Tue 04-Nov-08 10:25:02

thank you for replying - was starting to get paranoid there!

That's terrible about your mum, see the GP's always stick up for me too but it shouldn't be like that, they should be polite and helpful in the first place.

mishymoo Tue 04-Nov-08 10:29:54

Weegle, surely this particular receptionist should know who you are? If I were you, I would have a quiet word with the practice manager and ask them to sort it out.

saadia Tue 04-Nov-08 10:33:00

She does sound horrible and a right pain to have to deal with. Having said that, I know that at my surgery they do keep back emergency appointments which are supposed to be only 5mins, so perhaps when you tell her you need to see the GP at a particular time she gives you the emergency appt.

Weegle Tue 04-Nov-08 10:33:20

mishymoo I do wonder that - I wonder if for some reason she's taken a dislike to me and is therefore always awkward to me. But I can't remember a time when she wasn't like this towards me to be honest.

Weegle Tue 04-Nov-08 10:35:07

saadia - yes I could understand if that's what happen occasionally, but every single time? Even when I have plenty of notice (like 3-4 weeks was a recent one, I knew I needed an injection then) and she still couldn't find me an appointment within 48 hours of when I asked, until I asked her to check with the GP, then she found one.

mishymoo Tue 04-Nov-08 10:35:37

In that case, I would definitely mention it to the practice manager. Good luck

scattercushion Tue 04-Nov-08 10:39:41

Could you ask to speak to the other receptionist (if possible)?

I complained about the doctors' receptionists when I was trying to get my 12 week scan - they cocked it up so I had to go private to have it in time. This was the last straw in a catalogue of disasters so I sent a letter directly to the doctor, who was very sympathetic and obviously bollocked the receptionists as they were super-efficient after that. Then there was a questionnaire given out to all the patients about the efficiency of the receptionists!!! ahahaha!

Weegle Tue 04-Nov-08 10:45:54

oh how satisfying would that be, scattercushion!

It seems petty to ask to speak to the other receptionist though. I think I will mention it to my GP next time I see him, not in a bitchy way, just a "when you tell me to get an appointment for x date I always get told there aren't any" and take it from there.

Scarletibis Tue 04-Nov-08 11:06:20

YANBU - it is a bugbear of mine. We used to have a receptionist who could give Anne Robinson a run for her money and it was like going into battle. I saw her being unhelpful and obtuse to others as well.

We also seem to have a system where different receptionists can manage to find different appointments - depending on the time of day/week you phone up.

It's not what you need when you are ill. I would mention it to your dr. or practise manager.

sunnygirl1412 Tue 04-Nov-08 11:59:23

I utterly agree with the others here - you are not being unreasonable AT ALL!!! I too would recommend a letter to your practice manager, copied to the doctors at your practice - because they all need to know about her attitude - if she's doing this to you, she's doing it to other people too.

I have often thought that I'd like to be a doctor's receptionist, because I enjoy dealing with people, helping and reassuring them - but from your story here, it sounds like these are totally NOT the qualities called for, so I might have to have a rethink on a new career!wink


muddleduck Tue 04-Nov-08 12:17:45



Try thinking of it the other way around. Maybe she is trying to keep some appointments free on each of the coming days so that those patients (like you) who need to be seen urgently or on a particular day can be fitted in. She's trying to fob off the less urgent/specific appointments for later days. Of course she should be trying to learn which patients shouldn't be "fobbed off" so YANBU, but maybe overall her annoying attitude is working in your favour?

Lotster Tue 04-Nov-08 12:25:37

YANBU. Drives me potty too. is their job to actually PREVENT anyone getting the appointments, this has been my theory for such a long time...grin

I have a lovely GP - when I can get past the rottweilers to see her that is, sometimes she books me in for the next appt there and then, or if I ring reception and ask for a phonecall back and explain she's so booked up she'll often find a space. She told me they always have a few that they can book themselves.

Think the key is to be very pleasant with it too!

StripeyKnickersSpottySocks Tue 04-Nov-08 12:27:42

Sounds like she's lacking in people skills but about the appointment thing I would agree that some appts will be kept for people who need the test/appt on a specific day.

Macdog Tue 04-Nov-08 12:39:00

Is this her???



hertsnessex Tue 04-Nov-08 12:40:44

YANBU. drs receptionists are a nightmare (generally - before anyone who is one jumps on me1) x

Bubbaluv Tue 04-Nov-08 12:41:20

At my old surgery in London the receptionist used to make you tell her what you wanted to see the doctor for before she would give you an appointment - hello what ever happened to confidentiality!? Then when you arrived she would again ask you to tell her what your ailment was, in front of the cue of people behind you! angry

Weegle Tue 04-Nov-08 13:01:51

muddleduck - yes this could be the theory but I can't believe that there aren't a load of free nurse appointments for 4 weeks ahead, as has been one of my examples. I agree they need to keep some back for these eventualities, it's her stock "can't help" response that drives me nuts!

*Macdog" - that article is hilarious but scarily the woman in question just looks like a darker haired version - the facial set is the same!

Bubbaluv - that's crap. I've also been asked what's it for. And when I've answered "well I really would prefer to discuss that with the doctor" she's said "I was just trying to see if I could make you a nurse's appointment instead". hmm if I wanted a nurse's appointment I'd ask for that, which you probably wouldn't give me anyway!

bracingair Tue 04-Nov-08 13:10:32

We always imagine the recruitment ad for the receptionists at our surgery goes like this:

"Are you mean? Can you growl at people? Do you like seeing them at their most vulnerable? Then we have the job for you!"

They are complete jobsworth. Just one exapmle is the doc asked me to do a urine sample and leave it in the bathroom. The receptionist actually brought in to the waiting area and asked "who's is this?"

The docs are lovely though.

Soprana Tue 04-Nov-08 13:14:36

don't get me started on doctor's receptionists!I think they're trained to be as unhelpful, obstructive and obnoxious as possible in order to deter patients!

bracingair Tue 04-Nov-08 13:20:54

Apparantly our receptionists are trying to "protect the doctors". I got so annoyed when a good friend who was training to be a doc said that to me, and told him that it is extremely patronising. Yes, there are people who drive the docs mad, but dont assume it of everyone who walks through the door,

familybliss Tue 04-Nov-08 13:26:16

My dd was really ill a few years back - which is rare. My dd temperature was swinging between 39-40.8 degrees and had been on calpol and the like for 3 days. All the books gave advice along the lines of "call your doctor", so I did.

The receptionist was unhelpfully. I won't go into details, but it was only when I said, "should I call an ambulance instead?" (which the receptionist told me "don't be silly") and in a very reluctant tone of voice said that I should "come over at 4.00pm". It was noon.

About half-an-hour after the phone call, dd could not breath properly. She was sweating,
not particularly conscious (her eyes were rolling about), had a temperature of 40.8, blue lips. I just buggled her and ds into the car and drove to the surgery.

As I carried dd into the surgery, I saw the look of panic on the receptionist's face. That's when I began to panic! I heard one of the patients say to one of the doctors as he walked into the consultation room "there's a kid out there who looks really sick". We got to see a doctor immediately etc.

Just as well I turned up. Ended up on a full course of antibiotics, the first time in dd's life, and I am sure (this is my opinion, not medical fact) that dd would have died had I followed the receptionist's advice and waited.

I'll stop now because it makes me angry just thinking back at it. The lesson I learnt is that if it happens again - that is, the receptionist was being arsy, and my child has a temperature 40+ - I will simply and politely put the phone down and dial 999 for an ambulance.

Fortunately, I have not had to do this so far....

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