The New Receptionist and The Team


If you have never worked in a GP Surgery it might come as quite a shock at the amount of people who are involved in running a Practice. There is a lot of staff behind the scenes that are not seen by the general public – but they all play a bit part in the smooth running of the Practice.  Here are some of the staff that you might come across whilst working in a GP Surgery.

THE DOCTORS

  • Family Doctors are general medical practitioners or GP’s
  • Most consultants take place in the surgery, although doctors may visit patients in their home if they are too ill to attend surgery.
  • Usually GP’s will work different hours each day and some will work part-time.
  • Some GP’s will do clinics that they specialise in their local Hospital.
  • On top of seeing patients the Doctors have a pile of paperwork that needs to be completed every day from  signing prescriptions to filling out medical and insurance forms. They often are asked to sign passport forms. All of this takes a lot of their time.
  • Some of the Doctors at the Surgery will head certain parts of the Practice. You might have a Doctor that would be the staff Doctor working closely with the person in charge of staff. Or a Doctor that is the IT Doctor and will work closely with the person in charge of IT. Other areas of the Practice will also have a Doctor involved such as Flu Season and Diabetics/ heart Clinics – they usually work closely with the nurses on these subjects. This usually works well as one Doctor can feed back to the rest of the practice – and its beneficial to staff as their have one person that they can report to rather than several people.

THE NURSES

  • Most surgeries will have a team of Practice Nurses and Health Care Assistants. Most surgeries will offer a full range of treatment room services including injections, dressings, ear irrigation suture removal, smears and blood taking and many more.
  • Some Surgeries have a phlebotomist – which is a person trained to take blood. Often a Receptionist can be trained up to do this.
  • Practice Nurses also monitor conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and blood pressure and may advise well women and give travel advice.
  • HCA’s (Health Care Assistants) will help the Practice Nurse in her day-to-day clinics.

DISTRICT NURSES

  • District Nurses are registered general nurses with a certificate or diploma in district nursing. Their roles include assessing patient’s needs in their own home, checking patients following hospital discharge, giving professional nursing and advice and health education in the community. They can also nurse the terminally ill that chose to be at home rather than in the hospital. They work very closely not only with the patients but the patients family and friends.
  • District nurses work very closely with the practice to ensure that patients receive the best possible care and attention. Communication is vital and you as a Receptionist will be part of that team when passing verbal messages.

 

HEALTH VISITORS

  • Often a surgery will have a team or a single health visitor. They might also have a nursery nurse and they supply support in all areas of childcare, safety and prevention of accidents in the home. They usually hold baby clinics in the surgery which incorporate some of the immunisation programme. They may also hold a number of courses including stress management and dietary advice.

 

MIDWIVES

  • The Surgery might have a midwife. The midwife will normally come in once or twice a week and run an ante-natal clinic for pregnant mums. By having a midwife in the Surgery it means that the pregnant mums can have their checks up at the Surgery rather than keep going to the hospital.

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OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS

  • These may include staff you may meet within the Surgery that might include Clinical Psychologist, physiotherapists, counsellors and dietitians and other healthcare professionals.

MEDICAL STUDENTS

  • Medical students can often be attached to the Practice. Patients will be advised by the receptionist when there is a student sitting in with the Doctor. If the patient is not happy with this please let the Doctor know before the patient goes into the room.

 

LOCUM DOCTORS

  • Locum Doctors are doctors that cover a Practice Doctor when they are on holiday, on a course or off sick for some time.
  • Some Practices use locums on a regular basis and therefore become very familiar with the Practice and become part of the team.

REGISTRAR DOCTORS.

  • These are new qualified Doctors gaining experience in a Practice. A Registrar will usually shadow a Doctor and will sometimes take a clinic on his or her own. Again, you must explain to the patient that they are with the Doctor or working in place of the Doctor.
  • Registrar Doctors unlike Locum Doctors may be at the Practice for some months – therefore patients will ask to see them and they are very much become part of the team.

 

PRACTICE MANAGER

  • The patients will not often see the Practice Manager unless they have a query or a complaint. The Practice Manager is responsible for the smooth running of the practice and will usually do all the accounts HR and payroll. She will work closely with the Doctors to ensure that all areas of the Practice are running as efficiently as possible.  In larger Practices the Practice Manager will often have an Assistant Practice Manager and her own Secretary.

ADMINISTRATION STAFF

  • The Practice Manager might have a Management Team – especially for those larger Practices. The Management Team will often be made up of a
  1. Practice Manager
  2. Assistant Practice Manager
  3. Staff Manager
  4. IT Manager
  5. Accounts Manager / Payroll clerk
  6. Management Secretary
  7. Administrator
  • Some Practices will have more in their Management team – some a lot less.

 

SUPERVISOR / SENIOR RECEPTIONIST

  • Most Surgeries will have a Supervisor or a Senior Receptionist. She/he will take on the day-to-day running of the Reception area. The Supervisor / Senior Receptionist will work closely with the Practice Manager and the staff Doctor to highlight issues around Reception and staff.
  • If you have any concerns as a Receptionist your first point of contact should be your Supervisor / Senior Receptionist. You will usually notify her/him of any holiday that you wish to take – or speak to them in the event of your not coming into work due to sickness.  If you feel the need for any training you should highlight this with your Supervisor / Senior Receptionist.

SURGERY SECRETARY

  • The secretary for the Surgery is usually responsible for the typing of all the doctors’ correspondence. She has a lot of contact with the local hospitals regarding referrals and has contact with patients due to this. She will also have contact with other areas of the health care sector. You will often find that you will be directing telephone calls to the secretary – so be aware of the hours that she does – as often the secretary only works part-time.

CLEANERS

  • The Practice will usually have a cleaner or a team of cleaners. Some Practices employ their own cleaners others use outside contractors. Cleaners are still an important part of the team – their job is important – and very crucial to the safe wellbeing of staff and patients.
  • But, if you are concerned at any time about the standards of cleaning, please do not ignore it; speak to your Supervisor / Senior Receptionist who will bring it to the attention of the cleaner. High standards of cleaning are vital.

And        YOU THE RECEPTIONIST 

  •  The brief outline of staff might give you so idea of what makes a Team at a Surgery.  It takes the whole team to make the Practice a success. Everyone is like a piece of a jigsaw – and when they all fit in together the team is complete.
  • As a Receptionist you will be the first point of contact for the patient either by telephone or when visiting the surgery. Your primary skill will be dealing with people when they might be distressed, or confused, either face to face or over the telephone.
  • You will need to understand the daily workings of your surgery, who works when and where and understand the appointments system.
  • You will need to know who to contact regarding certain issues, how to record a message and how to use your judgement in matters than seem urgent.
  • You will juggle with numerous forms, booklets, lists and sources of information.  Sometimes you may be called on to help a nurse, or act as a chaperone. At times, you will feel you are doing all these tasks at once, and getting grumbled at because you have forgotten to book a patient in, or simply forgetting to make that cup of coffee you promised someone over an hour ago. But please don’t despair if it all seems too much at first. We have all been there and got through it. No-one expects you to learn the job at once; it can take up to 6 months to really start to know your way around all the different systems and clinics.
  • Do not  despair  – but remember PLEASE ask – no one minds how many times you ask – they would prefer than rather than you make a mistake.

Working as a Doctors Receptionist is like Marmite – you either love it or hate it. love it and you will get a lot of job satisfaction from it and will probably be there for years.

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Arggggg – What next?


Friday morning I received a letter confirming my hospital admission date and time. Then I read further – the letter asked me to stop taking a certain medication a week before the operation – which would have been that day – only I didn’t recognise the name of the drug – so I looked it up and realised that this was a drug that was nothing to do with me – I had never been on it.

I wondered if the person that WAS on this drug had not been informed as our files had somehow got mixed up – so I tried phoning the secretary – only to get an answer phone
message – I left a message for her to contact me – I received no phone call back on Friday – so I would presume she does not work on a Friday – so if she does not phone back Monday it’s another call I will have to make.

THEN on from my previous blog The “Stick It” and My Credit Card http://wp.me/p1zPRQ-5X it gets even worse.

When I withdrew my method of payment by Credit Card due to the Clerk putting my entire card details onto a stick it – I suggested paying by cheque. The reason she took all my credit card details was due to the transaction not being completed until the date of my hospital admission – some two weeks later.

When I offered to change my method of payment from the credit card to a cheque the Clerk confirmed that the cheque would not be presented until the date of admission – just like the credit card would have done.

But, she asked me to date it that day – but again confirmed that it would not be taken out for another two weeks. I even offered to pay cash on the day of my op  – but as I had to be in at 8.00 and their office didn’t open until 9.00 it would be too late to pay on the day (obviously payment had to be made prior to admission).

So, I gave her the cheque and she tore up my credit card details.

Yesterday I stopped for petrol on my way shopping –my card was rejected – so I had to paid on my other card. When I got home I checked my bank and found that the cheque had indeed been cashed and caused me to go overdrawn – I was fuming – and even worse it was Saturday and I had to wait until Monday before I could phone and ask WHY!

This has really angered me – why tell me the cheque would not be presented and then go and do it – fine if they presented it the day I gave it to them I would have made sure the funds were in the account to pay it – like I would have done when she said it was going to go in.

And, now I will have to make two calls Monday morning – one to the secretary and one to the hospital accounts department – both really nothing that was my doing.

I understand that mistakes happen – but when you are dealing with a) people’s heath and b) people’s money you need to ensure you get it right.

So, I am now wondering what on earth is going to happen next!        

The “Stick It” and My Credit Card


I had an appointment today to see a consultant – It was a private appointment – something that I had to get sorted sooner rather than later and going private was my best option.

The hospital was small the staff very friendly. The consultant went through everything and his secretary gave me a date for my operation – 2 weeks time.

Armed with all the necessary paperwork I headed over the Bookings Office. The clerk took all my details, and asked for an initial payment of 125.00.

I gave her my credit card – she then said that payment would not be taken until the day of the operation.

She reached for a “stick it” and promptly wrote all my credit card details down on this little piece of sticky paper. But why not put it on a proper form to be added inside my file.

My heart sank – although I use “stick its” a lot – I certainly would not have used it in this instance. I didn’t feel happy about leaving my credit card details on this loose sticky piece of paper. I was actually gob smacked that this method was used in taking all my details
of my credit card.  My thoughts went to my blog on “Taking a Message” http://wp.me/p1zPRQ-54 dated 20.7.11

In the blog I actually advised against using such a thing for the taking of messages or anything of importance – and to me my credit card was certainly important. This piece of sticky paper so easily could be lost with all my details on it.

Quick thinking – I spoke up and said that in fact I would prefer to pay by a cheque – which I did – and thankfully the small sticky piece of paper was torn up by the clerk.

What are your thoughts on taking messages on “stick its” do you think it is a safe enough?

The Million Pound Cheque


Following on from a recent blog re “The Urine Sample Pot” I have another story to share you will regarding the friendly GP – Dr Paul


I was in reception before morning surgery began opening the daily post.   In walks Dr Paul. He took his post out of his tray and started his daily signing of prescriptions, letters and other requests. The Practice Manager came along and asked him for a cheque that he was due to give to her. He got out his cheque book and wrote the check as requested.

I turned to him and asked while he was writing out cheques could he do one for me!! “No probs” was his reply – and duly wrote a cheque out to me – he wrote my full name on the cheque, dated and signed it and gave it to me.

The cheque was made out for one million pounds. We had a good laugh and I said that I probably would never have a cheque like this again and that I was going to frame it!!

A couple of weeks later I was working for the out of hours service and was working with a GP who happened to be a good friend of Dr Pauls, and was just as mad as he was.

I told him about the cheque and with a big grin and a twinkle in his eye said………right let’s get him!!

The out of ours GP took the cheque – and phoned me a couple of days later. He had arranged for his secretary to phone Dr Paul the following week – on the 1st April – April Fools Day.

Picture the moment – the secretary phones me and we had a chat – she was well and truly up for the joke as I put “the call” through to Dr Paul. I phoned him in his room – told him that I had his bank on the phone – he had a rep in his room with him at the time but was happy to take the call. Even better as the rep in there would be able to tell us his reaction.

I put the call through……………………….. About 4 minutes later all I hear is you bas***ds coming along the corridor – luckily there were not patients in the waiting room!!

Speaking to the rep later he said that we had well and truly had ‘got him’. His face was just a picture. The rep said that he had NEVER seen Dr Paul  lost for words. He certainly was on this occasion. All he kept saying to the caller on the end of the phone “this is a big mistake”.

Speaking to Dr Paul afterwards he said couldn’t believe that he had been well and truly caught. He said the call came through and the secretary made out that a cheque for a million pounds had been presented to the bank – and asked when he was going to put the funds into his account to cover this. He tried to explain that it was a joke and it shouldn’t have been banked. To which she replied “well Sir the cheque is dated and signed by you – is it not” to which he had to say yes!! The conversation went on and obviously the secretary was making life very difficult for him – she kept asking him difficult questions – until he heard the other Doctor in the background laughing!!! Game over.

He took it very well – relieved I think that this wasn’t really happening.

He came out into reception and gave me a friendly thump! The secretary on the other hand got a box of chocolates from him for the laugh!

I never got the cheque back – shame – as I said before – it probably will be the one and only time that I will ever get a cheque for one million pounds.

The Million Pound Cheque


Following on from my most recent blog re “The Urine Sample Pot” I have another story to share you will regarding the friendly GP – Dr Paul


I was in reception before morning surgery began opening the daily post.   In walks Dr Paul. He took his post out of his tray and started his daily signing of prescriptions, letters and other requests. The Practice Manager came along and asked him for a cheque that he was due to give to her. He got out his cheque book and wrote the check as requested.

I turned to him and asked while he was writing out cheques could he do one for me!! “No probs” was his reply – and duly wrote a cheque out to me – he wrote my full name on the cheque, dated and signed it and gave it to me.

The cheque was made out for one million pounds. We had a good laugh and I said that I probably would never have a cheque like this again and that I was going to frame it!!

A couple of weeks later I was working for the out of hours service and was working with a GP who happened to be a good friend of Dr Pauls, and was just as mad as he was.

I told him about the cheque and with a big grin and a twinkle in his eye said………right let’s get him!!

The out of ours GP took the cheque – and phoned me a couple of days later. He had arranged for his secretary to phone Dr Paul the following week – on the 1st April – April Fools Day.

Picture the moment – the secretary phones me and we had a chat – she was well and truly up for the joke as I put “the call” through to Dr Paul. I phoned him in his room – told him that I had his bank on the phone – he had a rep in his room with him at the time but was happy to take the call. Even better as the rep in there would be able to tell us his reaction.

I put the call through……………………….. About 4 minutes later all I hear is you bas***ds coming along the corridor – luckily there were not patients in the waiting room!!

Speaking to the rep later he said that we had well and truly had ‘got him’. His face was just a picture. The rep said that he had NEVER seen Dr Paul  lost for words. He certainly was on this occasion. All he kept saying to the caller on the end of the phone “this is a big mistake”.

Speaking to Dr Paul afterwards he said couldn’t believe that he had been well and truly caught. He said the call came through and the secretary made out that a cheque for a million pounds had been presented to the bank – and asked when he was going to put the funds into his account to cover this. He tried to explain that it was a joke and it shouldn’t have been banked. To which she replied “well Sir the cheque is dated and signed by you – is it not” to which he had to say yes!! The conversation went on and obviously the secretary was making life very difficult for him – she kept asking him difficult questions – until he heard the other Doctor in the background laughing!!! Game over.

He took it very well – relieved I think that this wasn’t really happening.

He came out into reception and gave me a friendly thump! The secretary on the other hand got a box of chocolates from him for the laugh!

I never got the cheque back – shame – as I said before – it probably will be the one and only time that I will ever get a cheque for one million pounds.