Some notes on why our Reception staff might ask for personal details when you are booking an appointment.

Patients sometimes raise concerns about the questions they are asked by Receptionists when booking appointments with the doctor or nurse.

These notes aim to try and address those concerns and reassure patients about the role of the Receptionist in this process and how sharing information helps us to better meet your needs.

All of our receptionists are medical receptionists and have been trained according to the doctor's instructions. They have significant experience in Primary Care and each one is signed up to the same confidentiality and information governance procedures as the medical and nursing staff. A key part of their role is to signpost patients towards the most effective way of getting their issue addressed.

We are trying to make more patients aware that they can often get advice or a simple medication review over the phone from the GP, or that the reception team may be able to sort a report or form for them without them needing to see a doctor. Equally, many patients think they must see a GP to have their blood pressure taken or to discuss their diabetes or asthma etc, or to stop smoking, and actually our nursing team is often better placed to attend to these needs.

In short, there are many patient issues that can be sorted without the need for a GP appointment and this is what the receptionist is trained to sort for you.

In order to signpost you to the right contact with the right person, the receptionist may need to ask you for a brief indication of your condition/symptoms.

We recognise that not everyone wants to share their symptoms – however briefly – with a medical receptionist. If that is how you feel, please don't worry. If you are requesting an urgent, same day appointment, the receptionist can still pass your details on to the on- call doctor; the on-call doctor will assess your request to be seen along with the other urgent requests received that day and prioritise accordingly. On busy days, the on-call doctor may ring you to conduct a brief telephone assessment of your condition before deciding how best to address your need.

Like many busy GP practices today, we try to manage the doctor and nurse workload by splitting the demand for appointments into categories and so our Reception staff will ask for some detail about your condition or problem when you request:

  1. an urgent appointment with a doctor;
  2. an appointment with a nurse;
  3. a call back from a doctor for advice or about a home visit;
  4. completion of a form eg for insurance purposes.

We hope this information is helpful and reassuring and will be happy to answer any further queries.