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Doctors surgeries receptionists

  • 10-01-2022 3:42pm
    Registered Users Posts: 12,715 ✭✭✭✭

    Is it standard practice for these people to ask private questions over the phone as if they’re done kind of medical professional?

    I rang today to speak to my doctor about a private medical issue and she basically kept asking questions until I had to tell her what it was about.

    a few friends have said it’s the same carry on in other surgeries. Why do these people need to know?



  • Registered Users Posts: 25,656 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    At the moment, it's cos their boss, the GP, has told them to screen calls.

    I am now firmly of the opinion that they all need to be replaced by trained health professionals, eg nurses who are injured and cannot do hands on nursing any longer. Having Binty the receptionist making decisions about who gets treatment and who doesn't is well past being funnym

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,582 ✭✭✭Xander10

    Pretty unfair to blast all receptionist like that. The ones I know have been working years in the practice and have built up a decent knowledge to ask appropriate questions.

    A bit like the front of staff staff in pharmacy, they can be more than helpful in advising with OTC medicines etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,344 ✭✭✭Thoie

    Any doctor's receptionist I've met has been very discreet, and doesn't share your info around the town. They wouldn't last long in their job if they did. I just called to make an appointment, and like you, had to tell the receptionist what it was about. It helps manage waiting lists, gives the GP a heads up of what's coming at them, and helps determine whether a longer appointment might be needed.

    If I'm just looking for a repeat prescription of something I've been on for years that doesn't need much oversight, that could be a 10 minute appointment. If I'm complaining of chest pains and can't breathe, an ambulance might be a better option than hanging around to see a doctor "later". If I say I've got a sore toe, then I'll need an in person visit, whereas other things might be appropriate for an initial phone call.

    The receptionist isn't making decisions about who gets treatment - that's still down to the medical staff.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,715 ✭✭✭✭Dtp1979

    Still, it just feels wrong discussing any of my private medical issues with a receptionist

  • Registered Users Posts: 266 ✭✭stopthevoting


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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,715 ✭✭✭✭Dtp1979

    Haha exaggerated, but only a little, which is the worrying part

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,344 ✭✭✭Thoie

    Mine must have seen that, and taken the exact opposite tack. Everything from "I've got a hangnail" to "my leg has fallen off" is met with the same sympathetic "oh dear, well how about 3pm?"

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,656 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    They may be lovely receptionists.

    But they are just that. They aren't registered professionals, they don't face any consequences if their advice or behaviour doesn't meet professional standards. And that's just wrong.

    The other week, I watched an 83 year old, who's never sent an email in her life, get told that the ONLY way she can get a repeat prescription is by emailing them. Absolutely unprofessional.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    The problem I have, is that the receptionists in my surgery are acting in a triage capacity, deciding whether you get an appointment in three days, or next week. And they are not qualified to triage patients.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16 Chucky Q

    This doesn’t seem right to me if there are private issues involved

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  • Registered Users Posts: 24,764 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    I’d just tell them that your health is between you and you GP. You won’t be discussing symptoms or any other facet of your health with them.

    You won’t be discussing it with any non medically trained people.

    if they fail to provide an appointment right away that you will be making a formal complaint about the GP and the surgery to the Irish Medical Council.

    • they are failing to provide you with an appointment in a timely manner.
    • you are being pressured to give details of your health to non medically qualified people who are using that information to make decisions about your health ie. them deciding to try and issue an appointment for a date too far in the future for your health requirements.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 67,523 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    ...and that's when you get told the GP won't be seeing you anymore, basically. Which in most parts of the country is going to leave you without access to a GP at all as next to no-one is taking on new patients.

    Clearly unacceptable but that's the outcome of decades of mismanagement of the sector

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,764 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    If a GP will refuse to see you without a reasonable excuse then they would be opening themselves up to loosing lots of cash…. And reputation.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 67,523 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    Right now most of them would be delighted to lose a few patients off their lists. There's a shortage of GPs everywhere.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,656 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble


    They need to be replaced with people who are qualified and accountable. Right now, I don't even care if ghat adds a tenner to the price of a visit.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,764 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    they are the ones who are accepting too many patients $$$$$$, so why would they change their minds having accepted too many and want rid ? :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 893 ✭✭✭Jellybaby_1

    With my doctor's receptionist there was one really good day and really several bad ones. The good one was when I was in severe back pain and was given an immediate appointment and another several when she was downright rude to me. I never know whether I'm talking to Dr. Frankenstein or his monster!! Because I have to go through her to get to the doctor I'm usually walking on eggshells when I ring.

  • Registered Users Posts: 897 ✭✭✭sameoldname

    Lads, if you want to be "triaged by a medical professional" you need to go to A&E. Even then, you'll more than likely have to describe your symptoms to a receptionist long before you ever get to see a nurse or doctor. No small practice is going to waste a nurse on answering the phone.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 67,523 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    There isn't a GP in the county that's not oversubscribed.

    I think you have exceptionally (like, 2006 and backwards so 16+ years out of date) outdated ideas of GPs income.

  • Registered Users Posts: 996 ✭✭✭Sorolla

    There’s a lovely girl working at my doctors surgery and she is as good as any doctor - when Seamus had the cough and I rang her - she told me to give him warmed up flat red lemonade with a disprin and he would be as right as rain the next morning and she was right.

    We got her to do the second reading at his funeral

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,386 ✭✭✭NSAman

    Have to agree with the op, my mum had to “try” to see her doctor… I was furious at the questions she asked, very personal indeed.

    in the states each doctor has a nurse who decides, receptionists are just that, receptionists!

    it’s typical of the cost cutting that is going on in a commercial environment that sees costs cut to the bone.

    these new “super” combination clinics are the worst

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Beatings shall continue until morale improves, then. Fair enough.

    In our local practice you speak to the receptionist, who asks you relevant questions to figure out whether to recommend an in-person or phone conversation, or if it's simply an administrative matter (like issuing receipts or forwarding test results or copies of prescriptions). She's an employee of the practice, and she'd be out on her ear if she ever revealed personal information. Based on what you tell her, she suggests either in-person or phone, and either a GP or the practice nurse. If you don't like what's suggested you can insist on your preferred option, or indeed you can simply tell the receptionist you'd prefer not to discuss anything until you see the doc or speak to the doc on the phone. However, all of that happens on the understanding that in-person visits to the surgery are likely to involve a longer wait for an appointment, and that phone consultations will be both quicker and cheaper. I've called lately to ask for both in-person and phone appointments without explaining what my problem is; when asked, I simply said I was sure I needed to visit or I was sure a phone call would be enough. No need for bad manners, conflict, or calling one's lawyers or the Medical Council. Of course, not everybody organises their practice in quite the same way.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    By the way, shouldn't this thread be in some other forum?

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,715 ✭✭✭✭Dtp1979

    Possibly yes. New boards is such shjte I simply can’t navigate around it so if a mod thinks there’s a better place for it, please move it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,929 ✭✭✭✭Ash.J.Williams

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,715 ✭✭✭✭Dtp1979

    I do yea, why?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,079 ✭✭✭BnB

    When you mix a massively over-inflated sense of self-entitlement with not having a remote idea how the real world works..... this is the kind of BS that you get.

    Do you really expect to be able to ring up your GP whenever the hell you want and talk to them ? If that was the case, most GP's would just spend the spend the day on the phone and never get to actually sit down with a single patient. How would you feel if you were at an appointment and your GP left you consultation to talk to someone on the phone about something simple like renewing their prescription ?

    While it is a nice idea that you would have a health professional answering the phone at a GP surgery, where do you propose these health professionals are going to magically appear from. There is a huge shortage of nursing staff in Ireland right now. If a GP's clinic is lucky enough to get a nurse, they are not going to waste them on the phone making appointments etc. They'll have them working in an actual clinical role

    As for complaining to the Irish Medical Council if a GP doesn't give you an appointment straight away....????? Are you freggin serious ?? You do know a GP is a private individual working for themselves or their practice. They do not have to give a "timely" or any other type of an appointment to anyone just because they ring them up.

    Basically, what the three of you are saying between you is that you should be able to ring your GP and demand to speak to them whenever you want and also able to get an appointment whenever you want. You pretty much want to have your own private GP on demand available for yourself whenever you want them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,690 ✭✭✭Deeec

    Im sorry but I dont agree with you. No receptionist should be deciding whether anyone gets an appointment ( be it in person or phone call). Everybody knows the demands doctors are under at the moment - I dont think anyone is contacting with minor problems. Even to get through to the doctors receptionist by phone is a challenge at the moment. Its a very dangerous system Doctors are using at the moment - of course this suits them and will be continued for the future.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,764 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    Thats a heck of an ill-informed rant.. when a patient is ringing up looking for an in person appointment... not a phone consultation...yes and as a client / patient I expect it to be made without hesitation... there are professional standards they must adhere to. The imo outline them..

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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,715 ✭✭✭✭Dtp1979

    Me: Hi can I speak to my doctor please

    Her: ok what’s it in relation to?

    me: I just have something private I want to discuss with him.

    her: ok it’s 40 euro for a phone consultation

    me: that’s fine

    her: what is it you need to discuss?

    me: I’m looking for a referral for a procudure

    her: what’s the procedure?

    at that point I had to tell the fcuking receptionist what my private medical issue was.