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Receptionists key to patient satisfaction

by in News, Reception

NewsGP receptionists play a key role in determining the level of patient satisfaction with a practice, according to a new survey.

Researchers analysed phone calls involving receptionists, identifying those that were helpful to patients and those that were not.

The researchers found that “unhelpful” receptionists were in practices with relatively low patient satisfaction levels.

Researchers from Bristol and Loughborough universities analysed some 447 calls from three surgeries for the study in the British Journal of General Practice.

They describe an unhelpful call in which a receptionist repeatedly tells a patient there are no appointments at specific times and surgeries – leaving the patient to push for alternatives.

In an example of a helpful response, a receptionist offers to a patient to try to find an appointment slot.

The Royal College of GPs said the government had promised nationwide training for all members of practice teams.

Chair Dr Maureen Baker said: “It’s important to remember that whilst receptionists play a pivotal role in delivering patient care, they are not healthcare professionals, and should not be put in a position where they have to make decisions about our patients’ health.

“One of the key pledges in NHS England’s GP Forward View is the delivery of nationwide training for the whole practice team, including receptionists and clerical staff.

“This would have important ramifications for the role of the GP receptionist and the overall patient experience and the College will be following developments closely.”

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One Response to “Receptionists key to patient satisfaction”
  1. Alan Moore Says:

    Training reception staff is OK but there is one significant issue missing in this item – namely the role of the Management and in particular the GP Partners. It is the GPs who set the `tone` of any practice and if they complain about their appointment workload or `challenging` patients to the staff then its no wonder that reception attitudes reflect the negativity. Staff do like to try and protect their doctors` appointments from what they may perceive to be trivial issues, they do pick up on an attitude that patients are a problem and they do feel they are not appreciated when doctors never say “thank you” when they do something well or when they have tried their best to accommodate a patient and only get moaned at. Let some of the `training` funds go to teach GPs about customer service and staff motivation – you might be surprised!

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