Why do we ask for information?
When a patient phones up to make an appointment with us, our staff will always ask what the appointment is about and record that information for a clinician to review. They are asked to do this by our GPs and there are a number of reasons why:
- It helps our GPs prioritise patients appropriately.
- It helps our reception team ensure they can offer you the best appointment for your problem. For example, a sore knee might be best dealt with by a physiotherapist or a query about medication by a pharmacist. Not every problem is best dealt with by a GP.
- It helps ensure that we can operate as efficiently as possible and maximise the use of our resources. If we get the patient seen by the right person at the first opportunity, that means there are more appointments available for others. For example, if a patient with a sore knee is seen by a GP who then feels that the issue needs an appointment with our physio, we have not made best use of that GP appointment. The patient could have been booked in directly with the physio leaving the GP appointment free for another patient.
- The GP or other professional can be more prepared for your consultation with an idea of what it is you would like to speak about – for example if they need to find any information or check any results before speaking with you.
If a patient requests an appointment for the same day, our staff will ask the patient for details of the problem and record that information. Sometimes they may suggest a routine appointment would be appropriate but if the patient feels the matter is urgent, an urgent appointment will be requested. The details taken by the receptionist will then be reviewed by a senior GP. Having reviewed the information, they may decide that the request is more appropriate for a routine appointment or to be directed to a different healthcare professional. This is only ever decided after a clinical review by the GP. Our reception team never make these decisions themselves.
Reception staff, like all members of our team, are bound by strict confidentiality rules. Any information given by you is treated strictly confidentially. The practice would take any breach of confidentiality very seriously and deal with it accordingly.