The Hicks Group Patients Forum
(Covering the Charles Hicks and Roman Gate Surgeries)
Huntingdon & Godmanchester
Thoughts from the Hicks Group Practice
A Receptionist's Perspective
I thought it might be helpful to explain a few things which I know is of concern to some of you. I am often stopped in the street or supermarket by patients who want to complain about the telephone system, booking appointments etc. It may surprise you to know that on a busy morning, before 10am, we may already have taken more than 100 calls just on the appointment line. Please don't feel short-changed if your appointment is with the "Nurse Practitioner" or a Minor Illness Nurse, instead of a Doctor. The Nurse Practitioners have enormous skills and knowledge, and Minor Illness Nurses are able to help with things like chest infections, back pain, tonsillitis and ear infections to name just a few ailments. By the end of the day, the number of calls for advice can easily reach over 200. Does that surprise you? That is why the phone lines can be exremely busy at times, so please have patience when you call us: we are trying to answer each one of your calls as quickly as possible.
A very challenging problem that isn't getting any easier is the rising number of DNA appointments (Did Not Attend). You all know how long you have to wait for a routine GP or nurse appointment. For whatever reason, there are still a large number of people who just do not turn up for their appointments. Sometimes there is a legitimate reason, but often not. This is an enormous waste of such a valuable resource. These appointments could have been offered to other patients if they had been cancelled.
If, like me, you have received through your letterbox a leaflet offering a free prescription home delivery service, then let me explain what this involves. This is NOT provided by the NHS; it is a service offered by commercial companies. This works fine for most regular repeat prescriptions, but should you require medication on a one-off basis, such as antibiotics, and you failed to tell the clinician at the time of issuing this medication it will go to the company for home delivery, adding extra time for you to wait. This isn't ideal if you really need to start your medication promptly. Some medications cannot be sent via this procedure. So please bear all of this in mind should you decide to sign up to these companies.
On a final note, did you know that you can have online access to your medical records? You can also book appointments with the GP online and request your repeat medications. Pop into the surgery reception with photographic ID and we can help with your enquiries on this subject. We also now have the facility to offer appointments with extended access service, i.e. appointments with GPs, Nurses and Healthcare Assistants which can be booked at different surgeries throughout the area, in the evening and at weekends. If you would like to have more information about these appointments, please ask the Reception Team.
We hope this article helps you understand a little more about some of the Receptionist's role.
The Reception Team.