General Data Protection Regulations
You can now test your GDPR knowledge with a fantastic new quiz from our friends at Practice Index. There’s also a short video which tells you all you need to know about GDPR.
General Data Protection Regulations
You can now test your GDPR knowledge with a fantastic new quiz from our friends at Practice Index. There’s also a short video which tells you all you need to know about GDPR.
I was honoured recently to be a birthing partner for someone having their baby in the Bournemouth Birth Centre. It was their second baby but their first time in Bournemouth.
What can I say but WOW what an amazing experience from the moment we walk in through the door to the after care and so much more.
The unit itself is truly marvellous. Its modern, with a welcoming Reception area, extremely friendly and spotlessly clean. You get a feeling of being welcomed and that feeling never went away.
The midwives and maternity healthcare assistants couldn’t have done anymore for us all. Myself and the dad to be was included in every part of the care throughout the stay.
The birthing room itself was large, well equipped, gentle music playing in the background and a birthing pool with its gentle lightening to the therapeutic aromatherapy oils gently whispering through the air. A fully equipped en-suite just made this room everything that could possibly be needed.
The little touches in the unit were amazing. Lovely names for each of the birthing suits.
Beautiful phrases on the walls
and each time a baby is born there is a place for them in Reception on a blue or pink lamb with the date of birth and the weight and apparently in a years’ time they will be sent this lovely memento to keep.
Whilst in the earlier stage of labour we took a slow walk around the lovely lake so beautifully landscaped in the grounds of the hospital. Certainly, a place of tranquil and beauty for patients and visitors to enjoy. It was early evening, it was quite as we watched the birds on the water, and the tiny rabbits playing in the grass. Seating all around for us to pause while another contraction took hold.
Lots of tea and coffee, laughs and hugs and the most amazing experience watching their baby son coming into the world. This is one experience that I will cherish forever and this was made possible by the very caring and compassionate members of staff.
The parents spent the night bonding together in the Birthing Centre with their new son the husband having his own bed for the night it really was like home from home. The following morning, they welcomed their 2-year-old in to meet his new brother. It was so very relaxed and emotional. Family time just the four of them for the first time together.
The care didn’t end when they left the unit. They were encouraged to phone if they had any queries or worries, was told they could come back to the until if they felt the need and their midwife followed up with a phone all 3 days later to see how they were all doing. What a fantastic service.
I cannot praise the unit enough. I honestly don’t think they would have got any better treatment if they had paid privately. The whole experience was 5*. This indeed just shows how fantastic our NHS is and how extremely lucky and proud we are to have this wonderful hospital on our doorstep.
what a lovely start to a new life
Its happens to the best of us – most of us as a Receptionist will have at one time or another booked someone in with the wrong healthcare professional. But it’s how you deal with mistake, and the actions we take to ensure that:
A good friend of mine had this happen to her only last week. She was booked in with a wrong dentist at her Dental Practice – and here is the impact both emotionally and financially it had on her life due to a wrongly booked appointment.
Firstly, the patient has a phobia of the dentist, so to book an appointment in itself is a major ordeal for her. She was told at her last appointment that she needed to have a tooth extraction. The appointment was booked some 6 weeks away – 6 weeks of anxiety about the forthcoming appointment.
No one enjoys going to the dentist but to have a phobia is on another level and unless you understand this you have no idea the stress and anxiety it can cause the patient and those around them.
Her appointment was booked for 10 am last Monday morning. At 9.15 she received a call from the Practice tell her that she had been booked into the wrong dentist (she had been originally registered with the dentist she had mistakenly been booked in with – but because she had gone over a certain period of time without an appointment she had to re-register with the same Practice but was registered under another dentist) She was told that the dentist she was NOW registered with was fully booked for that day, and her previous dentist had refused to see her despite having the half hour appointment booked out.
The receptionist did apologise, and commented that she could hear how anxious the patient was at having the appointment cancelled. She was offered another appointment for the Wednesday at 8.30. She had to refuse this because she had children that she had to get to school and the dentist was a good few miles away from where they lived. She was then offered another appointment on the Friday morning at 10.00.
Now this already had started causing the patient problems. Because of her phobia of the dentist her husband who is self-employed had to arrange to take time off from work to accompany her to the dentist. When he doesn’t work he doesn’t get paid. The patient also works 3 evenings a week, and Mondays were one of her nights to work. Because she was going to have a tooth extraction it was suggested because of the type of work she does that she didn’t go into work that evening, so she had to arrange a swap with someone at her work. So, the cancelled appointment had already started to cause unnecessary problems as she now had to have another night off as the appointment was booked for the Friday which was another night she was scheduled to work.
She didn’t feel she could ask for another swap and she didn’t want to take this off as sickness as she prides herself on her exemplary sickness record and didn’t want to leave her work colleagues under pressure if she phoned in sick. She spoke to her boss and she had to take the night off as unpaid leave – another loss of earnings. Her husband had to also swap work around meaning that he was again losing more money on the Friday morning.
She arrived at the dentist, with her phobia now causing her concern she looked for reassurance from the dentist – which sadly she didn’t get. She was given the injection and asked to sit in the waiting room – the injection didn’t seem to take, so she was given a second and third injection before being told that it hadn’t taken and therefore the dentist couldn’t do the procedure. She was told she would have to be referred to the hospital to have the extraction done under a general anaesthetic and was told to expect to wait between 3-6 months. She really wanted to have this procedure done and dusted just to get it out-of-the-way and she certainly wasn’t keen on the thought of having a general anaesthetic, but understood why this would have to be done.
So, she was sent home, she had paid for the extraction that she didn’t have. On top of that now having to take a night off work without pay as well as her husband losing another half day’s wages. This tooth extraction that didn’t happen had now cost them both a lot of money.
10 minutes after leaving the dentist her mouth went completely numb and she couldn’t feel a thing, making her question if she could have indeed had the procedure done after all. She did feel that the dentist had certainly rushed through the appointment.
All of this causing annoyance and stress which could have been avoided if she had been put in with the right dentist when the appointment was being booked.
The importance of getting the appointment right is not only for the benefit of the Practice but also the benefit of the patient – you never know what is behind a cancelled appointment.
My training often involves me travelling to London.
Growing up I lived on the outskirts of London and the underground was very much part of my life often travelling on my own at a young age. Fast forward a few decades and here I am once again using the underground as a way of getting to my destination.
I still find travelling on the tube kind of magical, I absolutely love people watching and amazed at the speed that the tube takes me to my destination, many times almost taking me to the door of where I need to go.
There are often many options of the routes that I can take and this gives me the option of travelling one way and back a completely different route.
When I am asked to host a training session it involves me having to do a lot of research before going. Planning my travel, choosing the best routes to take. Taking in account how many times I might have to change and go onto another line, to planning the distance from the tube to the organisation that I will be doing the training. Time management is vital for my job.
I love the fact that I can use my debit card on all the transport including buses, no worries about having to purchase different travel cards or standing in endless queues to purchase a train ticket. Having this system can often mean that I can alter my route at the last-minute (often to pop off and do a bit of retail therapy!)
But what I have found every single time that I have travelled on the underground over the past couple of years is the brilliant customer service that the London Transport staff have shown. Every single time I have had a question be it for the best route to take or simply asking what platform I need to go to. Every single member of staff has always given me clear easy to follow instructions, every single member of staff have always been polite, friendly and always have had a smile on their face. Not only has their knowledge of the underground been incredible their local knowledge outside of their station is also exceptional.
I am useless at following maps and often when you come out of the underground there are several exits from the station which can at times be very confusing. I have often asked a member of staff for directions to a certain point, or even a Road by name and every single one of them has always given me good clear instructions. This has made my journey so very stress free.
Thank you London Transport your staff are a credit to an amazing service that you give to us all, and they can often make what could be a stressful journey a lot easier just by being the kind helpful people that they are.
When it comes to advertising a job within your organisation I know only too well how you can be inundated with eager people applying for the job. You might even have more than one position and your inbox can be extremely busy. Some of these emails might seem to you to be “a complete waste of time” But someone has taken the time to send the email enquiring about employment within your organisation.
As well as people applying for position advertised you might also have people sending a general email asking if you have any vacancies within your organisation, and there are younger ones perhaps asking if you have any vacancies for work experience.
I hear from some many people (and from personal experience) that unless you are successful and invited in for an interview a lot of organisations will not reply to let the applicant know that they have not been successful, or simply that there are no vacancies at that present time.
I appreciate that you could have many applications for just one post, but it takes very little time to have a set message that you can cut and paste and put this into an email back to the applicant. This allows them to put that application behind them and work on applying for the next position. By not having any communication it gives people hope and keeps them hoping that they might hear something.
I have a friend whose daughter is 15 years old is doing work experience this summer. She wants to have a career as a physiotherapist and eager to spend her 2 weeks work experience in this field.
Below are examples of just 3 of the organisations she contacted asking if they could help in any way in offering her work experience – she emailed each of the 3 organisations, a polite well written email outlining her interest in becoming a physiotherapist and said that she look forward to hearing from them.
The first email was sent to a large teaching hospital. This was her first experience in applying for work. The hospital was local to where they lived which meant travel would have been very easy. Excited at the thought seeing how physiotherapy worked within the hospital environment she eagerly waited a reply. Sadly, she received no feedback. Not even to say she had not been successful.
The second email she sent to a local physiotherapist who worked on their own. She heard nothing for about 4 weeks – and then she received a lovely letter through the post. The physiotherapist thanked her for her email and apologised for the delay in getting back to her. The physiotherapist went on to explain that they had just recently changed premises and her letter had been mislaid during the move. The physiotherapist went on to say that she would have been more than happy to have had her during her work experience but she was in fact away skiing at that time, but if in the future she wanted any more information or guidance to please get in touch. She also wished her every success in her future career.
The third email she sent was to a larger Physiotherapy Clinic. She received an email asking her along for an interview. She went along and was met with an extremely lovely and very helpful physiotherapist who instantly put her at ease and who had also done the course that she was interested in doing. She was thrilled and enjoyed the tour of the building. She found everyone extremely friendly was offered the place for her work experience. As you can imagine she is over the moon and delighted to have found something.
As you can imagine a 15-year-old applying for a position, and then having an interview would be quite daunting. She dealt with it very well, and her parents were so very proud of her. This is her first experience in going out to work in the big world! She was lucky to get the interview and to have such a good experience.
However, it was sad that her first application for whatever reason was ignored, the second application showed empathy on the physiotherapist part – taking the time to write to her, in the form of a letter which was incredible, and although she wasn’t offered any work experience the letter did giver her confidence after the first rejection. The third email of course she was delighted, she might have gone for the interview and for whatever reason she might have not got the work experience or she simply might have felt it wasn’t for her. BUT having her application acknowledge and the experience of having the interview was so important for her first steps into the world of interviews forthcoming training and employment.
This scenario could also apply for people who have been out of work for some time and having lost a bit of their confidence. An email, phone call or letter could turn that right around. Nice, encouraging words don’t cost anything.
So, next time you get an enquiry, or an applicant applying for that vacancy please take a moment to think about the “person” behind the email and please give them the respect and reply even if it’s just to say “thank you for your application/enquiry” and “sorry we do not have any vacancies at this moment in time” or “I am sorry you have not been successful in this application” Remember communication is vital in all areas of HR and the person behind the email will appreciate your feedback even if it might be to say that they have not been successful.
Emails after all are sent from human beings!
I popped into my local bank on Friday and whilst waiting in the queue I was shocked at what I overheard.
There was a staff member of the bank on the information desk helping a gentleman. The member of staff was polite and extremely helpful to the gentleman – full marks for customer service. BUT she was extremely loudly spoken – almost shouting while she spoke, she had one of those voices that everyone could hear. Standing in the queue with 2 other people in front I could not help but hear everything she was saying and it was all very clear. The member of staff was obviously speaking to another bank department on the telephone and it was to do with their on-line banking app.
The conversation between the customer and the bank staff was very one way, I could hear the member of staff very clearly yet I couldn’t hear the customer at all.
This is what I overheard and it was VERY loud and clear.
The member of staff was on the telephone explaining to the third-party that the gentleman in front of her has been locked out of his on-line banking the night before. This she said happened at approximately 22.10.
She explained to the third-party that the customer uses this way of banking on a regular basis. She went on to tell the third-party exactly what had happened and what he did as in logging out and trying again, and what app he was using – telling the third-party that he uses this app on a regular basis.
She explained to the third-party that the amount the gentleman was trying to transfer was £6,500 and she made a comment that this was possible why it he was locked out as it was such a large amount. She asked the gentleman exactly what the message had said when this happened. He obviously replied but I couldn’t hear it, but she then proceeded to tell the third-party what the message said.
She asked the gentleman what device he has used, he replied and again I couldn’t hear him, but she then told the third-party that it was an IPad that he had been using for the transaction.
She then proceeded to give the third-party the customers:
First name, surname, address and date of birth.
She then gave the third-party his
Account number, sort code and the account name that he held at the branch.
I was completely gobsmacked.
I wondered if I should say something!!! Should I stop her making this situation worse than it already was. I actually felt uncomfortable standing there listening to this gentleman’s personal details being broadcast for everyone to hear.
There was another member of staff standing just in front of her directing people to the self-service machine and he didn’t once attempt to tell her conversation could be heard and to make it even worse right next to her were 2 empty offices where she could have taken the gentleman ensuring that confidentiality was adhered to throughout the call. She must have known that these questions would have been asked by the third-party.
She then proceeded to ask the gentleman for proof of identification so he gave her his driving licence to which she told the third-party she had and went on to give the third-party his driving license number.
My turn came to do my transaction, again I wondered about saying something to the cashier in front of me, but did I want to cause a fuss as this really wasnt anything to do with me and there were enough members of staff in the bank at that particular time that someone could have said something.
I left the bank, shocked I had been in there about 10 minutes enough time that I heard so much of this gentleman’s personal information. The sad thing is the member of staff was doing her very best to help this gentleman, but in doing so she could have caused a bigger problem simply by not understanding and adhering to confidentiality.
Sadly, as most of you are all aware there is a lot of negative publicity in the press at the moment about our great NHS service and sadly some of it with good reason.
It saddens me to read some of the dreadful reports about patient care and those working for the NHS being abused and often overworked. Working for the NHS and being a patient I can see a lot of this from both sides.
Doctors surgeries are busting at the seams with patients struggling to get appointments. Practices are merging together but are they able to continue to offer the service they did before?
The Ambulance service is stretched and A&E are struggling to find beds resulting people being treated in corridors, whilst Ambulance crews are held up in the car parks with patients on board waiting to be seen and treated, often resulting in the ambulance crew not being available to go to the next emergency.
Sadly, there are still the time wasters and abusers of the service. Those that call that emergency ambulance when all they needed was a GP appointment, the hoax callers that can tie up the emergency services for hours before they finally find that there was no “emergency” to those that present at A&E for minor ailments. Working in the past in A&E it never ceased to amaze me just what people would present with at A&E with. (I have written other blog stories when I worked in A&E)
As a Manager working in the NHS it’s a hard job. Struggling on a daily basis, trying to hit targets, wanting to give best patient care is almost impossible, dealing with staff that are forever under pressure on the front line and answering to stressful ‘those who need to be obeyed.
As a Receptionist, you will never please everyone, and many will be sure to be vocal and let you know how unhappy they are and often blame you for the “awful service”. Telephones ringing constantly, people demanding urgent appointments that you just haven’t got, GP’s and Managers constantly asking the impossible from you, and all while you are working for barely more than the minimum wage.
Hearing from friends, updates on social media and press reports everyone is struggling to be seen resulting in people misusing the NHS because they had no alternative.
A friend recently phoned 111 (for my overseas readers this is an out of hours service which covers GP surgeries when they are closed – an excellent service which gives patients 24/7 cover). My friend felt very unwell, sore throat, temperature and generally feeling very unwell. She spoke to somewhere at the 111 Service, for whatever reason the 111-service suggested she took paracetamol and phone her GP surgery the following morning. She had a bad night and phoned her GP Surgery first thing the following morning. Her surgery was unable to offer her an appointment and she explained how ill she felt, she was than advised if she continued to feel unwell to take herself off to A&E – as ill as she felt she would have never done this but many might have acted on this advice. She left it another 24 hours and phoned the surgery again where she was given an appointment for that day where she was given Antibiotic and Steroids for a chest infection.
My husband was recently poorly at a weekend, as thought he had a nasty chest infection. I phoned to see if we could get an appointment at a local Treatment Centre (the out of hours service where you can see a GP). After giving the operator all his symptoms (he was breathless due to the cold/chest infection) the operator said they she recommended that they send an ambulance out to him. The protocol said that if the patient was breathless or had breathing problems that an ambulance should be sent. There was no way that he needed an ambulance, he could have actually driven himself to the Treatment Centre, he was ill but not that ill, and even if he was I could have driven him there.
I believe that both of the above where 2 incidents where the emergency services (A&E and an ambulance) were not needed. I know that people have protocols to follow but in these two instances the patients could just have been seen and treated by a GP.
Do we need to look at the bigger picture, to look as how we can signpost people in the right direction, to ensure that people who need A&E are seen, and those that can see a GP do so? We have a great NHS, we can see a GP free, we have GP cover 24/7 and at a last resort we have a great emergency service in the ambulance service and A&E. It’s important that everyone needs to see those that are appropriate to them. Is there anything that we can do together to ensure that this happens most of the time?
I would be very interested to hear from my many overseas followers on how their GP Practice work. How does your routine appointment system work and when patients request emergency appointments what is your practice policy and does you’re A&E Departments get clogged up with people who don’t need to be there?