GP receptionists integral to patient care, says RCGP

Publication date: 15 August 2016

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the RCGP, has responded to a BJGP report on GP receptionists' role in patient care.

She said: “GP receptionists are an integral part of the practice team; right at the frontline of patient care. GPs make in excess of 1.3m consultations a day across the UK, and receptionists ensure the smooth running of the practice, keep patients informed about their appointments and treatment, and make sure that all patients are seen in a timely manner.

"It is not an easy job, and all too often receptionists bear the brunt of criticism if a patient is not satisfied with the care they receive. Yet, in the majority of cases dissatisfaction may be as a result of circumstances out of receptionists' control; a lack of GP appointments due to the intense resource and workforce pressures currently facing general practice.

"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."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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