I’m a GP receptionist and prepared to be honest about my job.
TwistedSisterUK · 20/03/2022 10:22
Hi all, as title says, I’m a Gp receptionist. After reading all the irate, insulting, rude and misinformed threads on here I have made this account!
Please feel free to ask me anything and I promise to answer honestly, even though my opinions and thoughts are likely to make me very unpopular here. I’m prepared for it , having read dozens of previous threads where we are called lazy, rude, power mad, bitches and more…..
I have done this job for 12 years, it’s hard work but can be at times extremely rewarding . I work with a great team. My opinions are only about my job, my day to day dealing at the surgery I work in.
First of all, to the ppl who think we just answer phones and ask patients to please take a seat - I wish!! Lol.
I deal with chemists, pharmacists,hospital secretaries, emails, post, 100s of clinical letters and test reports, arrange all referrals, do all test requests, type all clinicians letters, new patient files are refilled, files from patients leaving must be found and returned, clinical letters received are scanned , coded and actioned, translators requests, letters to be typed up and patients to be called to arrange reviews, Imms,smears etc, the loaning out of medical equipment - there’s lots more but hopefully you are getting the idea that my job involves far more than answering the odd call.
So, the bits you, the patients see and hear are a small bit of my job.
I have to go out today but will be happy to answer any questions any of you may have but I’ll start the ball rolling here about the “ magically appearing appointments “.
I read a lot of complaints here that you call and there are no appointments….then….lo and behold,….after more conversation an appointment is found! This is because I can put it down as an urgent call. If it is NOT an urgent call I will be reprimanded by my manager and if this continues I would possibly lose my job.
I am simply not allowed to continually add more and more patients to be added as “ extras” They are called extras as there genuinely are no appointments left.
When I return I’ll move on to the why we ask the reason for your call! Please be assured I do not think myself in anyway medically trained nor do I even like asking - I have to ask - it’s my job.
I promise any questions or comments will be answered in all honesty! I’m wearing my hard hat…..lol
PaddingtonsHat · 20/03/2022 10:24
Thank you for everything you do. As a GP I know how much abuse you guys get and it’s undeserved.
PurpleFlower1983 · 20/03/2022 10:28
The receptionists at our practice are really good and helpful. No complaints here. Must be a hard job at times.
MarthaFokker · 20/03/2022 10:31
My opinions are only about my job, my day to day dealing at the surgery I work in.
So what's the point, unless we all use your particular surgery?
I love the receptionists at my GPs, they're professional and very polite. The receptionists at my old one years ago, were utterly shit. The pair of them couldn't have run a bath, let alone a reception area.
BattenbergdowntheHatches · 20/03/2022 10:32
This reply has been withdrawn
Message from MNHQ: This post has been withdrawn
Crumbleburntbits · 20/03/2022 10:33
I’ve been horrified at how rude people can be to receptionists. How do you cope when patients are abusive? I know I couldn’t do your job and I’m so grateful for the work that you do
TwistedSisterUK · 20/03/2022 10:33
Oh wow! Thank you so much for your lovely words! I felt nervous to open the replies! I really do enjoy my job and I treat every person I meet with the greatest kindness and respect - I do the very best I can to help.
Thank you again!
PutinIsAWarCriminal · 20/03/2022 10:34
I've worked in customer services and know how crap the general public can be. It shouldn't, but it comes with the territory unfortunately.
Of course they don't know what the person on the other side of the desk does, but I wouldn't expect them to. People only know what they see.
The vast majority of heath care receptionist I've come across are amazing, but everyone has met the dragon at the door type. They have probably reached the stage where the public as a whole are the enemy and really shouldn't be in the job any more. I witnessed one receptionist yell at, belittle and patronise each and every patient that dared walk into her surgery, I guess it was Covid stress but I did complain.
bonnieliesovertheocean · 20/03/2022 10:35
I have been frustrated at calling my GP for an appointment in the past and it has been a conversation point with many of my friends and family over the years.
However, I am not in any doubt that the rules and decisions around appointment allocation are made by the poor person who answers the telephone.
I am in a sensitive telephone based role myself (not medical) and I know that most problems begin and end with poor communication skills and lack of empathy. Frankly, the same message can be delivered by two different people and the outcome will be almost 100 percent affected by the way the conversation is handled. The times I have been most frustrated when calling my GP have been when I don't feel that I have been listened to or if I feel my concerns have been dismissed without understanding or care, the person on the end of the line is ticking the boxes and seeing if I am worthy of attention. I have seen this changing in recent years (hopefully not just at my practice) and people skills have improved greatly.
Thanks for this thread and by starting it, I imagine you care greatly about the patients you deal with.
TwistedSisterUK · 20/03/2022 10:45
MarthaFokker - The point of my post is to discuss my thoughts. I cannot possibly speak on behalf of all other receptionists! Ive met good and bad also, I cannot deny the fact there are some people who aren’t suited to their roles.
Crumbleburntbits - I genuinely don’t take any abuse to heart, I listen, and try my best to explain why we are unable to do as they request at that point of time - I really will help in anyway I can. I understand ppl are often frustrated and I do all I can to find a remedy!
StripeyDeckchair · 20/03/2022 10:50
Why is everything so antiquated? Is it lack of funds or what?
I had a day off last week & called in to my GP to request a repeat prescription. They wouldn't let me into the building so I had to yell through the door mechanism and then told me I had to write in with my request.
Write in! Can't email or phone I have to write. Which means it doesn't get done for days, because I work FT & now have to write the letter & make a trip to deliver it I've now run out of my prescription.
Leftbutcameback · 20/03/2022 10:50
Can I ask what the pay is like? (In general of course). I've always assumed it isn't particularly well paid
MarthaFokker · 20/03/2022 10:51
Ive met good and bad also, I cannot deny the fact there are some people who aren’t suited to their roles.
The same as all of us then.
You said, dozens of previous threads where we are called lazy, rude, power mad, bitches and more…..
Those will be the people who aren't suited to their roles. Not that the insults are ok but you obviously seem to understand the frustration.
TwistedSisterUK · 20/03/2022 10:53
bonnieliesovertheocean - thank you for your wonderfully worded post! You are so right - everybody deserves to be listened to and no matter what my workload is I give each and every patient my full undivided attention. I have developed many lovely relationships with our patients and know all about their families and pets ( I adore animals lol) as they do mine lol.
Communication really is the key, you hit the nail on the head! I think that is why I don’t take any comments to heart as not everyone has the same way of communicating their needs, I understand and accept that - and work at gaining a way of dealing with patients so they leave / end call happy with the outcome.
Riseholme · 20/03/2022 10:54
I used to work in pathology.
I had a lot of contact with many gp surgeries and I could absolutely distinguish the good from the bad by the people answering the calls.
Lack of training I think has a lot to answer for.
Bearing in mind I would usually be ringing a surgery because test results were abnormal. Therefore it was important the gp got the results ASAP.
Frequently a receptionist would tell me that I couldn’t ring until after 2 ( that’s when patients can ring).
Or would have no idea how to write down the results accurately.
Would ask me what I wanted them to do!
I have had to firmly reiterate that the receptionists take the results to the duty doctor immediately.
In a well run, happy surgery the receptionist would know to get the results pad, understand my terminology and I would feel confident that the gp would receive the correct information quickly.
Also hospitals go through the same waiting system to get to a receptionist as do patients. I could often sit 5/10 minutes trying to get through.
TwistedSisterUK · 20/03/2022 10:54
Must get ready to go out! I’ll reply to any comments / questions later! Hope you all have a lovely day! Thank you once again for your responses so far!
UmbilicusProfundus · 20/03/2022 10:56
Your GPs should be using autotranscription software. Waste of time to be typing letters surely?
FAQs · 20/03/2022 10:56
I recently phoned out GP receptionist just to say thank you to her for being so helpful. She was blunt to start with but ended up being a real help. When I called her back to just say thank you she burst into tears, she apologised kept saying she was so sorry for getting upset, she explained she’d had nothing but abuse since Covid started and people were always rude and that is what she expected with every call so was sometimes defensive and no one had ever called to thank her. She was only following practice rules when asking patients questioned before deciding where to direct them but people didn’t understand that and thought she was being obstructive.
purplesequins · 20/03/2022 10:57
very interesting. thank you for doing this ama op
my question is about languages. what happens if someone call who doesn't speak enough english? do you have a translating tool you can use? or are there language requirements for your job?
Spaghettipie1 · 20/03/2022 10:59
I echo the sentiments, absolutely draining work, busy, stressful and absorb a lot of the abuse. I'm an ANP in a GP surgery and our receptionists are gold, and we would fall apart without them! The extra work of calling patients for us with messages and about results, having to signpost patients to where they can be helped, constant faxing of urgent prescriptions, calling ambulances, organising clinics and vaccination lists....the list goes on!
gogohm · 20/03/2022 11:01
We have serious issues with communication and medical records, the disabled students allowance is a lifeline for those who need it but it relies on gps responding to requests for things like diagnosis letters etc. the receptionists lost requests (in writing as requested) refused to discuss it with me (I have medical power of attorney) and refused to put me through to the practice manager. Thankfully the doors aren't locked at our practice do we employed the sit in reception until someone senior talks to us method despite the dragon receptionist threatening to call the police. All we wanted was medical records that the student loans company required, the fact that there's covid is irrelevant, they are still required.
Sorry dragon lady really annoyed me, especially when she said "why does she qualify for dsa she looks normal, so inappropriate (dd is autistic)
RachelGreeneGreep · 20/03/2022 11:03
Tough job, imo. A friend works as one. You need to be quite thick skinned, I imagine. I also think the past two years must have been very tough for GP receptionists.
StrictlyAFemaleFemale · 20/03/2022 11:04
Heres a question: if you could change 1 thing about the nhs what would it be and why?
DillDanding · 20/03/2022 11:05
The receptionists at my GPs’ are all lovely. I’m sure it’s a hard job.
I wish I could say the same for all of the doctors.
RagzRebooted · 20/03/2022 11:06
I'm a GP nurse. Receptionists are the glue that holds general practice together!
I would not want to do their job.
HumunaHey · 20/03/2022 11:06
I have no problem with the receptionists at my surgery. They're professional and quite friendly.
My gripe is at things that they don't control. At our surgery, you can only get an appointment on the day you call. This means, alot of the time, you are unsuccessful at getting an appointment at all. You either call first thing in the morning and wait in a queue for hours on end. I was number 48 in the queue once! Or you call an hour or two after opening only for all the appointments for the day to be gone.
I understand the obvious problem there would be with booking appointments days in advance, but it would be very useful to just let it spill over for a day or half a day. E.g. calling at 1pm on Monday and being able to get an appointment for 10am the next day.
Does your surgery only allow appointments to be booked on the day? If so, why?
To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.