Receptionists often get short shrift from patients and even their colleagues on occasion. In fact, an article in the press entitled ‘March of the GP receptionist’ stated that “Patients are upset at having to discuss personal health matters with a receptionist, in earshot of the waiting room”. But receptionists are only trying to do their job, aren’t they? After all, it’s much easier to discuss health matters and then navigate the patient to the right clinician when booking the appointment as this helps the patient to see the right person; more than likely it also reduces waiting times and enables other clinicians to see other patients!
In reality, we know that the receptionist is the face of your practice, the firefighter, the gatekeeper, and I’m sure there are many more ways to describe one of the key members of your team – sadly, some of these terms can be rather derogatory. Don’t believe me? Well, let me quote an article written for ‘Pulse’ in April 2018:
“Over the years receptionists have gained a terrifying reputation, being described as ‘dragons’, ‘battleaxes’ and ‘Rottweilers’ – often with justification. While this behaviour may be protective to GPs, research has suggested that being forced to discuss symptoms with a receptionist is one of the main factors putting patients off seeing a GP.”
Let’s be honest, that’s not how you want your reception team to be perceived, is it? So bearing this in mind, how well trained are your receptionists? Do they know their role? What training have they had? Do they understand confidentiality or how to speak to people on the phone? When appointing them, you may have given these notions lip service, thinking, “Well, if they’ve applied for a receptionist post, they must be good on the phone and a good communicator, right?”
Maybe you were correct, but what if you were wrong and they’re just muddling along and not really understanding the need for confidentiality or how to deal with challenging or difficult patients?
To help, Practice Index has launched the ‘Receptionists in General Practice Masterclass’ an online course designed specifically for all GP receptionists, new and experienced.
The course covers the following subjects:
- Personal-identifiable information
- Telephone skills
- Dealing with challenging behaviour
- Difficult patients
- Conflict resolution
- Health and safety
- Disability awareness
More details on the above subjects can be seen here.
Given the range of subjects, the course has been divided into four modules, which receptionists can work through at their own pace. Each module highlights the relevance of the subject to CQC and has a video and a quiz.
Reception Managers are also encouraged to complete this course as it will enable them to understand what their team members have learned and will support them with their continuous professional development.
Practices can’t afford to lose receptionists, so give your team the training they need, to support you and the clinical team in delivering safe and effective care.
To find out more, please contact us here.