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Why are GP receptionists so rude yet compassion is instilled in other healthcare staf Watch

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    (Original post by askew116)
    This is exactly why patients tend to be suspicious/hostile to receptionists - you never bother to listen to us!!!

    If you had bothered to read the passage you quoted, you'd have seen that that person had mentioned beforehand that it wasn't an emergency. And the receptionist had the gall to then say 'oh it's not an emergency then'.

    I am personally very suspicious of receptionists - and am actually growing to be scared of them at my surgery as they are so rude.

    Last time I phoned them was a couple of months ago, when I was in absolute agony with an ear ache. Granted, it wasn't a life or death situation, but you know what? Life or death situations are dealt with at A&E - NOT a GP surgery, therefore, pretty much everyone who calls to request an appointment with a GP is not facing a life or death situation, we are simply asking to see a GP, as we have a medical problem that we wish to seek help with.

    If patients seem rude to you, then a) it is probably because they are in a lot of pain and/or discomfort - and compassion is all that's needed. A simple 'I'm sorry, but we are unable to offer you an appointment until tomorrow' is all that's needed, rather than 'Because it's not an emergency, you'll have to wait until tomorrow', and b) we have probably dealt with GP receptionists before, and are expecting a full-blown interview seemingly designed to weed you out of seeing someone who can help.

    Therefore, I fully support what OP is saying - simple compassion goes an awfully long way. We understand you have jobs to do, but don't wish to engage in a verbal battle when we're already feeling ill.

    P.S The incident I described above, I got so upset at the unprovoked rudeness of the receptionist (I said nothing that a reasonably person would have become upset about) that I hung up, in tears, and was too scared to call back for HELP, and I ended up in agony for around a week, after which I experienced hearing loss in the affected ear for about 2 weeks, all because I was too afraid of the receptionists.

    Please think about that next time you encounter a patient - They may not behave as you would because they are unwell, and the hostility and rudeness encountered may cause that patient's health to deteriorate for much longer than necessary - do you really want that on your conscience?
    Well an emergency for a GP is different to an emergency in general. If you're in a life and death situation then yeah, A&E is where you should be, but it's not always clear what a life and death situation is which is what a GP will assess. If it's obvious that something can wait until the morning to be looked at then it's not an emergency, if something has the potential of being a life or death situation then it's an emergency. What exactly did the receptionist say to provoke such a strong reaction from you? As for why patients can be rude, there's also option C: they're just *******s in general

    (Original post by askew116)
    This is exactly why patients tend to be suspicious/hostile to receptionists - you never bother to listen to us!!!

    If you had bothered to read the passage you quoted, you'd have seen that that person had mentioned beforehand that it wasn't an emergency. And the receptionist had the gall to then say 'oh it's not an emergency then'.

    I am personally very suspicious of receptionists - and am actually growing to be scared of them at my surgery as they are so rude.

    Last time I phoned them was a couple of months ago, when I was in absolute agony with an ear ache. Granted, it wasn't a life or death situation, but you know what? Life or death situations are dealt with at A&E - NOT a GP surgery, therefore, pretty much everyone who calls to request an appointment with a GP is not facing a life or death situation, we are simply asking to see a GP, as we have a medical problem that we wish to seek help with.

    If patients seem rude to you, then a) it is probably because they are in a lot of pain and/or discomfort - and compassion is all that's needed. A simple 'I'm sorry, but we are unable to offer you an appointment until tomorrow' is all that's needed, rather than 'Because it's not an emergency, you'll have to wait until tomorrow', and b) we have probably dealt with GP receptionists before, and are expecting a full-blown interview seemingly designed to weed you out of seeing someone who can help.

    Therefore, I fully support what OP is saying - simple compassion goes an awfully long way. We understand you have jobs to do, but don't wish to engage in a verbal battle when we're already feeling ill.

    P.S The incident I described above, I got so upset at the unprovoked rudeness of the receptionist (I said nothing that a reasonably person would have become upset about) that I hung up, in tears, and was too scared to call back for HELP, and I ended up in agony for around a week, after which I experienced hearing loss in the affected ear for about 2 weeks, all because I was too afraid of the receptionists.

    Please think about that next time you encounter a patient - They may not behave as you would because they are unwell, and the hostility and rudeness encountered may cause that patient's health to deteriorate for much longer than necessary - do you really want that on your conscience?

    EDIT: This thread is exposing just how little respect receptionists appear to have for patients. If any have any stories of how they have made a patients' day, please feel free to give it. But from this thread they appear to be demanding and aggressive - an experience I have encountered numerous times in real life. Yes, I understand it is often a thankless job, and rude, abusive patients get no sympathy from me. But I have NEVER overheard a patient being overly rude or abusive to receptionists - we're all too scared of being struck off, as huge posters in the waiting room remind us is the consequence of being rude to reception staff.

    Also, please don't get me wrong - I start off all conversations, either over the phone or face to face, with respect and empathy towards them. I am never rude or abrupt unless provoked considerably. I am one of those who, when faced with the demand 'why do you want to see a GP?' i politely decline to answer - I am under no obligation to answer, it's not because I think you're being nosey, I just wish for that information to be between me and my GP - again, something which is my right.

    Also, I have been in a waiting room and overheard reception staff, after finishing a phone call, ***** about and actually discuss medical conditions of the patient she was talking to. This is blatant disregard for confidentiality, and should be (I don't know if it is or not) a sackable offense.

    So for those who are negging me, without quoting me, I challenge you to discuss why you hold such hostility towards patients in a fair and reasonable manner. I have presented both sides of the argument here, acknowledging that it is a difficult job, yet also explaining why I do not fully trust reception staff, despite respecting them and contacting them wishing only for help.
    Firstly, this thread has shown what little respect the general population have for receptionists if anything. You've never overheard a patient being overly rude, great, well I have seen plenty of patients being rude to receptionists and haven't seen any rude receptionists, so there's no point to be made there. Also, you won't be struck off, it's an empty threat, unless of course if you go over the top. As for the breach in confidentiality, it is something which some people in the healthcare profession, not just receptionists, don't pay enough attention to and it is something worth complaining about.
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    Okay here's a story to show how kind receptionists are.

    I was sick with stress at the beginning of last year and it affected my university assignments. I also was having money trouble with the university fees. The receptionist refused to charge me for a doctors note that the GP made out for me. (They normally cost £20 at that surgery)

    They were so kind and considerate and have always been like that, and try their best to organise me being seen the same day.

    I've never had a rude receptionist. That is just one example of how kind they can be.
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    (Original post by askew116)
    This is exactly why patients tend to be suspicious/hostile to receptionists - you never bother to listen to us!!!

    If you had bothered to read the passage you quoted, you'd have seen that that person had mentioned beforehand that it wasn't an emergency. And the receptionist had the gall to then say 'oh it's not an emergency then'.

    I am personally very suspicious of receptionists - and am actually growing to be scared of them at my surgery as they are so rude.

    Last time I phoned them was a couple of months ago, when I was in absolute agony with an ear ache. Granted, it wasn't a life or death situation, but you know what? Life or death situations are dealt with at A&E - NOT a GP surgery, therefore, pretty much everyone who calls to request an appointment with a GP is not facing a life or death situation, we are simply asking to see a GP, as we have a medical problem that we wish to seek help with.

    If patients seem rude to you, then a) it is probably because they are in a lot of pain and/or discomfort - and compassion is all that's needed. A simple 'I'm sorry, but we are unable to offer you an appointment until tomorrow' is all that's needed, rather than 'Because it's not an emergency, you'll have to wait until tomorrow', and b) we have probably dealt with GP receptionists before, and are expecting a full-blown interview seemingly designed to weed you out of seeing someone who can help.

    Therefore, I fully support what OP is saying - simple compassion goes an awfully long way. We understand you have jobs to do, but don't wish to engage in a verbal battle when we're already feeling ill.

    P.S The incident I described above, I got so upset at the unprovoked rudeness of the receptionist (I said nothing that a reasonably person would have become upset about) that I hung up, in tears, and was too scared to call back for HELP, and I ended up in agony for around a week, after which I experienced hearing loss in the affected ear for about 2 weeks, all because I was too afraid of the receptionists.

    Please think about that next time you encounter a patient - They may not behave as you would because they are unwell, and the hostility and rudeness encountered may cause that patient's health to deteriorate for much longer than necessary - do you really want that on your conscience?
    If you had read my further response to the person who I quoted, I was referring to patients who come in to the practice, an hour before closing, demanding a letter the day before travel to say ''Joe Bloggs is taking XYZ medication'' (usually people need these for travel if they are going away for a considerable amount of time and are on a lot of meds). When the GP has x amount of patients to see PLUS prescriptions to sign PLUS phone calls to do AND admin work by the end of of surgery/closing and possible home visits, it is impossible for the GP to fulfil the demanding needs of Joe Bloggs!!! I have witnessed it with my OWN eyes, and the GP told me to tell the patient ''Nope, sorry''! I KNEW the GP wouldn't do it, but I went out of my way to ask and find out, and I got that response BUT I tried!

    Please don't tell me ''I don't listen'' because I do. Having sat on numerous telephone calls to patients, who are literally crying their hearts out to me, I sit and listen. I take on board everything that's said, and off my OWN back I ensure a GP is informed when the call is done and that GP will do his/her best to call the patient back straight away. That from time to time has occurred during extremely busy times in the surgery. When patients prescriptions aren't right, I run around the GP practice trying to find a GP who can help me sort it out. My colleagues and I bend over backwards to help patients we really do.

    I know people are getting extremely frustrated and weary of receptionists at their Drs - I once did when I was extremely poorly. Told time and time again I couldn't have an appointment, until my mum dragged me down there and demanded I be seen. I now visit my own GP practice quite regularly, and I have built up a rapport with them in so much so that I immediately get an appointment when I am unwell, as they know my medical history. So although people are whinging ''I don't want receptionists to know my business'' - in some respect perhaps people are ''cutting their nose off to spite their face?'' :dontknow:

    Life or death situations aren't dealt by GPs? No, to you they aren't but you'd be surprised the amount of people who come to the GP practice with life threatening situations and want to be seen by a GP instead of calling 999 or going straight to A&E!!! Trust me!

    Patients are rude because they feel because I am in nothing more than a menial job, and they feel they are above me and I don't deserve respect, they can be as rude to me as they like. I have never ONCE been rude to a patient the minute I have welcomed/greeted them - I am always polite, friendly and helpful. Yes, when I say to patients ''Sorry, I'm unable to offer an appointment today'', I get the few unhappy patients, BUT I offer alternatives, I don't slam down the phone like I have experienced at my own GP practice by one miserable old hag! That is not my style. However I am speaking for myself, not all the receptionists across the globe!

    Every patient that I come into contact with, I ALWAYS show compassion and ensure they are directed to the right person and I am NEVER rude. Yes, patients may not be 110% when they come in as they're unwell, but it's a two way thing - show a bit of respect and manners to the team who actually help run the GP practice, and our guard won't go up in defence!!!
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    (Original post by askew116)
    EDIT:...
    Also, I have been in a waiting room and overheard reception staff, after finishing a phone call, ***** about and actually discuss medical conditions of the patient she was talking to. This is blatant disregard for confidentiality, and should be (I don't know if it is or not) a sackable offense.
    Here's a scenario for you:

    A receptionist has just started at the practice. S/he receives a call from a patient, who has said they aren't very well but have a lot of medical problems which they think may all be linked together. The receptionist takes as much information down as possible before putting the call on hold. Receptionist is a little unsure what to do, so she discusses the call with a colleague to gain advice for the best course of action. This involves discussing the information to the consulted colleague before coming up with a quick outcome.

    Would you class that as a sackable offence?
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Here's a scenario for you:

    A receptionist has just started at the practice. S/he receives a call from a patient, who has said they aren't very well but have a lot of medical problems which they think may all be linked together. The receptionist takes as much information down as possible before putting the call on hold. Receptionist is a little unsure what to do, so she discusses the call with a colleague to gain advice for the best course of action. This involves discussing the information to the consulted colleague before coming up with a quick outcome.

    Would you class that as a sackable offence?
    Not at all, provided it's done out of earshot of patients in the waiting room. What I'm talking about is actual gossiping, which I have witnessed.
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    (Original post by askew116)
    EDIT: This thread is exposing just how little respect receptionists appear to have for patients.
    Personally, the main thing i'm taking from this thread is that the patients who ***** about how rude receptionists are, are generally the rude patients.

    Also, I have been in a waiting room and overheard reception staff, after finishing a phone call, ***** about and actually discuss medical conditions of the patient she was talking to.
    Unless she made it possible to identify who she was talking to, this is not breaching confidentiality. Perhaps unprofessional, depending on what was said.

    This is blatant disregard for confidentiality, and should be (I don't know if it is or not) a sackable offense.
    A genuine breach in confidentiality, where the patient is specifically identified, is a potentially sackable offense yes. Indeed, its illegal.

    Circumstances will play a big part in how far it goes though.
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    (Original post by askew116)
    Not at all, provided it's done out of earshot of patients in the waiting room. What I'm talking about is actual gossiping, which I have witnessed.
    Based on what you overheard, could you have reliably figured out who they were talking about if you knew the person?
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    (Original post by A5ko)
    1. They get paid a crap wage.
    2. They don't understand the impact of their attitude on members of the public.

    Not all are rude, but you will occasionally get the stroppy madams that think they are the practice PA.

    Don't get me started on ones that have the gall to ask you why you want to see a GP. They get it in the neck from me every time.
    Oh I know, I was going because I wanted to talk about going on the pill to the doctor and I was seriously embarrassed about it so I just said it was about my skin.

    To be fair I usually have quite a good relationship with them, I had forgotten to get a new prescription and I had to see the nurse to check my blood pressure etc and I couldn't get one til the next week so they gave me a months worth of medicine to keep me going.

    However after the appointment with the nurse I needed a doctor to sign my prescription and they were all in a meeting and the reception said she would get one to sign it and send it to the pharmacy across the road. I turned up at the pharmacy and they never had it, so I had to then go back to the surgery and they had to hunt for it. Luckily it was still there. I wish they had just told me to come back and get it rather than saying they'd do something then not.
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    (Original post by malteser87)
    Okay here's a story to show how kind receptionists are.

    I was sick with stress at the beginning of last year and it affected my university assignments. I also was having money trouble with the university fees. The receptionist refused to charge me for a doctors note that the GP made out for me. (They normally cost £20 at that surgery)

    They were so kind and considerate and have always been like that, and try their best to organise me being seen the same day.

    I've never had a rude receptionist. That is just one example of how kind they can be.
    I've never been charged for letters either. I asked the receptionist about it and she said it depends on the GP.
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    (Original post by OU Student)
    I've never been charged for letters either. I asked the receptionist about it and she said it depends on the GP.
    Well this was one that charges, the majority charge in Ireland. I've been to GP surgeries in Ireland, England and Scotland. Never had a bad experience.
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    Imagine yourself in their place when they have to deal with some really annoying patients. Not all receptionists are that bad, it's just some of them cannot be always pleasant and with a big wide smile when they greet you. There are a lot of annoying patients who think that they should get priority over everything. Of course, there are lots of terrible receptionists as well.
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    I am NOT speaking about all GP practices, but my first practice I was with the receptionists were absolute dragons, they were rude, gossiped in earshot, shouted regularly at elderly people who were hard of hearing, the list goes on, I have since changed practices, partly due to the receptionists, and my current practice 2/3 are lovely but again, there is a dragon there too.. If this isn't just receptionists then I don't know what it is.. Maybe I just have bad luck


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    (Original post by ForgetMe)
    Imagine yourself in their place when they have to deal with some really annoying patients.
    They are meant to treat patients with equal respect. So what if they've had an irate patient before they deal with yourself. You could be incredibly worried about a test result or symptom and the fact the receptionist is having a bad day only compounds your feelings.

    (Original post by ForgetMe)
    Not all receptionists are that bad, it's just some of them cannot be always pleasant and with a big wide smile when they greet you.
    It's there job. As I said above, they are on a terrible wage so you'll always find the ones that do just enough to not get fired.

    (Original post by ForgetMe)
    There are a lot of annoying patients who think that they should get priority over everything.
    It's not the receptionist's job to determine priority, some patients may ring confused and assume that their case isn't urgent when it is, likewise with a routine check up. They should not be taking risks based on past experiences with a patient when they are not medically trained.

    I have heard of GP practices having receptionists effectively screen patients, but it should not be this way.
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    (Original post by Bridgeta222)
    Why are GP receptionists so rude yet compassion is instilled in other healthcare staff, we all know the current drive the NHS has going for compassion in nurses and GPs too, that patients are listened to, but although I appreciate the difficulty of having to answer phone calls etc, I don't think it's a strong enough reason to be rude and curt.

    So why have GP receptionists been left out of the picture for compassion training? Arguably compassion can't be trained but at least an awareness that they should seem compassionate, at least.

    My reaction is just to be graceful and even if they're curt to me I carry on being polite, which is counter-intuitive, but it always leaves a bad feeling after having made the call, perhaps I'm too sensitive.

    Also, they spend time gossiping to one another when I'm actually there in the queue and the queue is getting bigger and they're still in chitter-chatter mode, it doesn't make for efficiency.
    Key aspects about receptionists that typically make them appear rude.
    -They do not want to hear or discuss the medical problems. They ask why you are here so they can put literally a 2 word note ont he computer system (i.e. chest pain, rash and fever etc) but when the patient then starts to try to give their medical history they stop them.
    - They are curt and direct and interupt - mianly as they are trying to be fast. THeir duties are not limited to booking people into the surgery. Lots of other admin type things.
    - They are the evil face of the GP surgery, stopping you getting into your lovely GP. Except they do so at the instruction fo the GP. It suits the GP-patient relationship to always have a different bad guy if possible. Thus its the receptionists fault, or the hospital specialist etc.
    - They often don't know all your personal details, how sick or well you are etc so appear to be entirely unsympathetic. This is also partly because they will inevitably have seen far far sicker people than yourself.


    Bloody hard thankless job to do.
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    (Original post by b4tman)
    ...shouted regularly at elderly people who were hard of hearing...
    So do I.
    But if you'll buy me my own portable voice amplifier then I will no longer need to raise my voice.
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    (Original post by Bridgeta222)
    Why are GP receptionists so rude yet compassion is instilled in other healthcare staff, we all know the current drive the NHS has going for compassion in nurses and GPs too, that patients are listened to, but although I appreciate the difficulty of having to answer phone calls etc, I don't think it's a strong enough reason to be rude and curt.

    So why have GP receptionists been left out of the picture for compassion training? Arguably compassion can't be trained but at least an awareness that they should seem compassionate, at least.

    My reaction is just to be graceful and even if they're curt to me I carry on being polite, which is counter-intuitive, but it always leaves a bad feeling after having made the call, perhaps I'm too sensitive.

    Also, they spend time gossiping to one another when I'm actually there in the queue and the queue is getting bigger and they're still in chitter-chatter mode, it doesn't make for efficiency.
    school receptionists are the same (most of the time). think its because they have a lower paid job and feel they have a small amount of power- 'do i let you through? or not. i decide'. lol

    i think the power goes to their heads. they feel they are the front of the surgery or school and they like to exercise that power where possible.

    either that or just by chance all unhelpful people apply for similar jobs.....
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    (Original post by b4tman)
    shouted regularly at elderly people who were hard of hearing
    What would you do then? Just not tell them when their next appointment is?
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    It does amuse me that people aren't willing to divulge clinical information to the people who will be typing that information up and filing it.


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    (Original post by nexttime)
    What would you do then? Just not tell them when their next appointment is?
    Speak clearly and emphasise lip movements, if it comes to it write things down. Shouting at someone is rude regardless of whether they can hear you or not


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    (Original post by nexttime)
    What would you do then? Just not tell them when their next appointment is?
    Write it on an appointment card perhaps?
 
 
 
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