A day in the life of a Doctors Receptionist

Anyone that has ever thought that a Doctors Receptionist has a “cushy little number” should read this article. It’s extremely well written and from the heart.

Every single Doctors Receptionists will agree, read this and say “that’s exactly how my day goes” There is never any let up.

I have said it before and will say it again, Doctors Receptionists are worth their weight in gold and so much more. They often work long hours for more often than not the minimum wage – but the love the job keeps them going.

Fantastic article and well worth a read.




Please Quote Me Right – #NotWhatISaid



I was approached by another national newspaper last week The Daily Mirror  to do a piece on the bad publicity that GP Receptionists are getting recently in the press lately.

As anyone that reads my blog will know that I am not only passionate about good patient care, but also I am very protective of the Receptionists who do a very difficult and at times very stressful jobs.

The reporter more or less took me through what she wanted to write and for most of this she wrote what I had said correctly all apart from point no 2. DON’T PHONE JUST TURN UP.

I didn’t quote this and I never would. I even had a lengthy conversation with her stating that this was not an ideal solution as someone coming and presenting themselves at the surgery would not get them an appointment over someone who telephoned. If the Receptionists have appointments they will offer them – if they haven’t got any appointments free then someone standing there in front of them will not magic one up out of thin air! This would then annoy the patient and this is where they can often get the bad publicity from.

Every surgery have their own system in place for appointments, but I am confident that there will be very few if any that would suggest that patients turn up for emergency appointments rather than telephone.

The two articles I recently did for two national newspapers I did was purely to stand up for all GP Receptionists.

I never receive any payment for these articles I did it purely to stand up for all GP Receptionists and the great jobs they do, often going over and above their job description to help patients.

Here is the article – which again is a great support for all GP Receptionists across the country but again I would like to point out that I did not quote No 2.


Sadly because of this I will feel very reluctant in the future to do any more articles.




Receptionists Fight Back #DailyMail

The Daily Mail Newspaper run a story last week sharing patient stories about rude and unhelpful Doctors Receptionists are and how patients couldn’t get appointments. Any Doctors Receptionist will tell you how difficult their job can be. Lack of appointments, demanding patients wanting prescriptions without waiting the required 48 hours and often working short-handed due to staff holidays or sickness.

Along with making appointments and dealing with prescriptions, patient enquiries, requests from the doctors and hospital requests they are often dealing with a death of a patient, sometimes a child that they might have dealt closely with on a daily basis. A bereavement of a patent does have a big impact on the Reception team.  They also deal with terminally ill patients ensuring that their needs are et.It can indeed be a very tough job.

In response to the article some of the Receptionists have given their “side” and tell how often they take abuse from the patients. This does happen as I have witnessed it myself and have had many receptionists sharing horror stories with me about the way they have been treated.

Every Receptionist deserves the appropriate training when it comes to dealing with some of these issues.

Here are some of the issues Receptionists are faced with on a daily basis. Follow the link below



Patient Confidentiality – When Someone Claims To Be The Patient

Beyond the Reception Desk


We have all been shocked by the sad news of the nurse Jacintha Saldanha in London who sadly took her life after a hoax call.

Many Receptionists and Nurses have no doubt thought of the sad incident and run through their mind how they would have dealt with such a call. I know I have.

We all know the importance of patient confidentiality – it is vital that patient information is protected and only shared with those on a need to know basis.

But, many of you reading this will think back to an incident whereby it has been difficult to deal with such a call – but it is how you deal with it that is the most important – and more importantly is how you have the knowledge and ability to deal with such calls. This comes with experience, training and support from the organisation that you work…

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Eye Contact and a Smile

Beyond the Reception Desk


A friend of mine had to go for an X-Ray yesterday at his local hospital. The hospital is in the process of going through some building work and many of the departments have been moved around – so finding the X-Ray department was somewhat of a challenge.

He followed the temporary signs to the X-Ray department and upon arrival asked the Receptionist if he was in the right place.

He was quite surprised by her attitude, he was made to feel as if he was a nuisance, and an inconvenience for being there. She replied quite abruptly that he was, took his referral letter and told him to take a seat.

At no time did the Receptionist give him eye contact, smile or show any signs of any customer care.

He sat and waited. There were another 4 people in the waiting room.

A nurse came out and called his…

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Can I Help? I’m a Doctor #RoadTrafficAccident #999


Coming home after a few days visiting family we noticed black smoke in the distance. As we came off the roundabout and entered a small country road the traffic abruptly came to a standstill – the black billowing smoke an indication that there was something going on ahead.

Everyone sat in their cars like us wondering what was happening ahead. It was a hot day and people started getting out of their cars to see if they could see what was ahead – there was no traffic coming the other way.

After a few minutes a car came in the opposite direction, he stopped the car and ran over to a few of us chatting informing us that we might like to turn back as there was a serious traffic accident up above and the road would more than likely be closed for some time. He said that group of people had to rescue a man from a burning car and he appeared to be in a serious condition. The mood changed, everyone stopped moaning about the hold up and the heat of the day and immediately wanted to know what they could do to help. The man in the car was on the phone to the emergency services and asked if I had a fire extinguisher,  we didn’t so I immediately went from car to car to see if anyone had one while another woman ran to the back of the traffic telling them to turn around as there was no way through. Everyone had a job to do and wanted to help.

No one in the cars in front of us had an extinguisher. I went to the car directly behind ours. A woman got out of the passenger seat – I  she was foreign but spoke perfect English. I asked her if she had an extinguisher – like the other cars but she didn’t.

She asked what the problem was ahead, I explained about the accident, she then asked me a couple of questions that gave me the impression that she had some medical knowledge. I asked her if she was medically qualified – she abruptly replied no.

She got back into the car and put on her seat belt in a calm manner, and before she could tell the drive who I presumed was her partner/husband what had happened he had wound down his window and asked me what was going on ahead. I told him that there was a serious crash ahead and they had to get someone out of the car. He immediately told me that he was a Doctor and he would go to see if there was anything he could do until the emergency services got there.

His wife entered into a conversation with him, I didn’t understand the language but from her body language and tone of voice it was obvious she didn’t want him to go – an argument went on between them for a brief few moments before he got his jacket and begun running up the road towards the accident. Judging by her face and body language she was not one bit happy that he had done that.

The emergency services were on their way, the doctor on scene and people who had perhaps saved a mans life helping in every way they could.

I was haunted by the attitude of the woman; why didn’t she want her husband to get involved? Had that been my husband I would have only been too proud that he might have made a difference in the life of death of the poor man lying in the road.

I tried all week to find out about the accident and hopefully hear that the man was ok. I finally found out that it was a very serious head on collision between two cars. Three people were involved one seriously ill woman. So the man they dragged out of the car did survive – and who knows that might have been down to the fact that the doctor went up to help – who knows! But everyone worked together as a team and did as little or as much as they could have done and that must have made all the difference.

Sadly all except for one woman in my opinion.

Just how important are Telephone Messages #AnswerMachine

telephone answering maching

Just how important are telephone answering machines? VERY important as it keeps your customers informed of you’re opening days and times.

Last week I needed to contact my dentist for an urgent appointment. He is a one-man dentist, with a hygienist and a nurse/receptionist. When he has any time off the practice closes.

I rang at 09.00 last Monday morning, the telephone just rang and rang, no one answered and there was no telephone answering message. I thought they might be starting at 9.30 so I range again – still no answer. I did think this was strange as usually when he has been away on holiday he has answered the phone via his mobile and has advised from there. This time there was nothing.

I tried again just after lunchtime and again around 4.00 pm. I wondered if perhaps he was having a long weekend off. I even checked that I was ringing the correct number.

I tried again the following morning, at 9.00 and 11.00.

The worse part for me was the not knowing. Had there been a message to say how long the surgery was going to be closed for I could have then made a decision to either wait and see him or to seek treatment elsewhere.

As I needed an urgent appointment I telephoned another practice locally and was luckily enough to get an appointment that same afternoon.

Just as well I did as I was told that had I left it any later I would have probably lost the tooth.

I have been with my dentist for over 9 years. No reason to change to be honest, I am not fond of the dentist at the best of times, but he always seemed to be good enough.

I actually found the new dentist to be extremely pleasant, she made me feel very much as ease. The surgery surroundings were very relaxed and the Receptionist was lovely, she chatted away.  I felt far more relaxed when I went in to see the Dentist and she talked me through what she was going to do. The surgery was also much closer to home and there was free parking where I used to have to pay for parking at my other dentist and to add to it all the new dentist’s overall charges were considerably a lot cheaper than my regular dentist.

Taking everything into consideration I have decided to move to the new Dentist, it suits my needs much more, but I didn’t realise that until I was forced to visit the new surgery.

Had my old dentist had a telephone message advising how long the surgery would be closed for I would probably still be going there now.

So, it is vital that you have a good telephone message set up on your phones. Ensure that the message is appropriate and you might have to change a message if you have the following:

  • Morning opening times that differ
  • if you close for lunch – state what time you open again at and leave any emergency numbers as appropriate.
  • Evening closing times differ – again leave any emergency numbers
  • Friday night – leave messages appropriate for weekend closing and again leave any emergency numbers
  • If there is a bank holiday, please ensure that this is mention in the last message before the holiday.

Get someone who has a good clear voice to record the messages. It is essential that they speak slowly and clearly and repeat any emergency telephone numbers twice.

Get someone to check the messages regularly to make sure they are the correct ones.

If you do not want anyone leaving messages add this to your message and make it clear that the service does not accept telephone messages. If you don’t people will use it as a message machine.

There is nothing worse that getting a telephone answering message that is out of date or wrong!

Having the correct telephone message on your answer phone is important. You could lose customers if it’s not.