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Right care, right person: the role of GP receptionists

This month, the Scottish Government is running a special campaign about GP receptionists which you might see on TV or hear on the radio.

We thought this was a good chance to also share a bit of information about our own Reception team at Riverside.

They’re the first voice you hear when you call us and the first face you see when you visit the surgery – and also the hands behind any emails you get from us!

Your care begins the moment they answer your call. Our receptionists will ask you a few quick, confidential questions, so they can guide you to the right care. That might not always be a GP: it might be one of the other expert health professionals at the Practice, or perhaps a local health board physio, a midwife, district nurse, pharmacist, optician or the local health board’s CTAC nursing team.

Our Receptionist are highly trained and supported by our clinical triage team (the duty doctor and three triage nurse practitioners) who work with them in our call room upstairs at the Practice – our triage nurses are often giving advice in real-time, while you’re on the phone. Our three very experienced team supervisors are also close by, so our call handlers can check in with them if they have any queries.

Our Receptionists treat everything you tell them in absolute confidence, just as your GP does.

We sometimes see people saying they feel that receptionists are a barrier to them getting an appointment, but nothing could be further from the truth. Their job is to make sure you get care from the right health professional – but sometimes they do have the tough job of telling patients that all our appointments for the day are fully booked already.

It’s certainly a very different job to what it was 20 years ago and we know that can sometimes cause confusion for patients.

So over the course of this week we’ll be introducing you to the team and the work they do, in the hope that patients find this interesting and useful.