Doctors’ receptionists have been discussed frequently within the media in recent times, a large percentage of this being of a negative nature. One main point that comes up as a real bugbear is that patients do not like being asked the reason for their appointment or being told that they need to seek advice elsewhere for their issue.
We would like to take this opportunity to assure you that this is not done for any other reason other than to ensure that you receive the correct treatment, by the correct member of staff, in a timely manner. Our Reception staff, although not medically trained, they are fully trained in which Service is best to treat what medical issues. They want to help you get better quickly!
Also the GP’s/Nurses like to have an idea of the urgent issue so that they can prepare before the appointment. This also gives the Receptionist an opportunity to direct you to the correct Service if the GP will be unable to help, therefore saving your time and the GP’s time. For example, if you have taken a fall and now have a swollen ankle that you are unable to apply pressure to, this will need an X-ray so Minor Injuries is the best place to go …. Why waste your time coming to the Surgery for the GP to tell you the same thing?
Also the policies and procedures behind some medical conditions may change and a GP will not see you unless you have self-medicated for at least 5 days.
A Receptionist will be fully briefed on this and therefore will talk you through the self-medication techniques to confirm that these have been done before booking the appointment.
Again …. why waste your time coming to the Surgery for the GP to tell you the same thing?
When requesting a nurse appointment by asking for the reason it helps us and you to see the correct nurse or health care assistant. This is because we have three practice Nurses and two Healthcare Assistants, they all specialise in different treatments and some of our equipment is set up in certain rooms and cannot be accessed if the nurse is in the incorrect room.
For example, if you require ear syringing, this will require an appointment with a Nurse only, in the treatment room for 10 minutes. How dissatisfied would you be if you were given an appointment in the Examination Room with the Healthcare Assistant for 20 minutes and therefore told that she cannot help you and you need to rebook?
The above examples can easily be avoided if patients assisted the receptionists by answering any questions that they may be asked.
Hopefully this makes it a little clearer why a receptionist asks the questions that they do. Please bear this in mind when you next book your appointment. They just want to provide you with the best service possible with little disruption to yourselves and our medical professionals.