Telephone Signposting Skills Moray

Date18 April 2018
Duration1 day
Start Time09:30
End Time16:30
TypeClassroom based



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This is a one day essential training session for all GP receptionists aiming to support signposting in the practice. We examine why the need for change in how we offer access is growing and how we won't meet demand if we don't change. We uncover the skills in good telephone call handling, and dealing with angry callers. We discover unique tips and skills to establish rapport with the patient – we can't gather the necessary information for signposting (or message taking) if the patient refuses to engage with us. We then examine the decisions we make when we aim to signpost:

  • What is urgent?
  • Where else can we direct patients?
  • What choices do we have?

The session will examine generic decision support tools which other areas have developed and how useful they could be to us.

The training will not be able to identify local arrangements or organisations to signpost patients to as that requires specific local knowledge (or a directory of local services) within the practice. However, it will build the foundations necessary to support the receptionists embracing and utilising local information and build the confidence for signposting decision making.

VenueThe Conference Room, Alexander Graham Bell Centre for Digital Health, Moray College UHI, Elgin, Moray, IV30 1JJ
Maximum capacity60
Phone07342 998 746
ContactLynne Wallace
Faculty/DepartmentNorth East Scotland Faculty, North Scotland Faculty

Course programme

Module 1: Demand & Impact

  • Why is demand increasing and what are the causes? What is the demand in your local area and how does this impact on your practice? Can you recognise problems in your practice from our interactive access checklist?
  • What are your patients saying about increased demand?

Module 2: Telephone Handling Skills

  • The communication process – the science of semiotics
  • Readiness for the call - does body language matter?
  • The golden handshake –The sources of noise
  • Active listening – what it is and how to get it
  • Good questioning - Getting beneath the surface – using the ICE model
  • Dealing with difficult calls and angry callers

Module 3: 'I'm not telling you, you're just the receptionist"

  • How can we signpost if we can't establish a relationship with the patient – are we just seen as the 'nosy receptionist'? This module uses unique techniques to support how we gather information when we are dealing with patients and aims to establish rapport and trust with the patient. We will examine the skills necessary to become an open, non-judgmental, patient-centred communicator – even when time is short

Module 4: Signposting and Decision Making

What is signposting?

  • "the right patient to the right service at the right time".
  • Gathering information – not making a diagnosis!
  • Using your expertise to offer appropriate solutions
  • What are the decisions the receptionist needs to make?
  • How do we know what is really an emergency, same day or routine request?
  • Does everyone need an appointment or have I other choices?
  • What if the patient wont give me information or insists on an appointment?
  • What is a 'red-flag' and what happens if I don't know what to do?
  • Examination of a range of tools to support signposting


  • Wi-fi
  • Refreshments
  • Parking
  • Accommodation
  • Lunch


 Dr Val McGarrell 

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