Receptionists ‘don’t have the medical knowledge’

I WRITE with reference to last week’s article regarding the new arrangement when calling Teviot Medical Practice for an appointment to see a doctor.

From what was published I understand that a receptionist will now decide the best option for the caller.

While I in no way doubt the integrity of the practice receptionists, I do not agree that they are “professionals” in that, as far as I’m aware, they don’t have the medical knowledge to make such decisions.

If, as stated, patients will only be asked for a brief explanation of why they wish to see a doctor, and most patients would not wish to give explicit details to a non-medical person, it will be very difficult for a receptionist to give the right option.

A wrong one might have serious consequences.

I sympathise with the receptionists, having this great responsiblity placed upon them. Given the number of doctors and practice nurses within the practice, surely calls for urgent appointments should be transferred to one of them?

At one time there was an arrangement when asking for an urgent appointment you would be put through to a designated practice nurse who then made a decision. Could this not be reinstated?

Perhaps it would have been better if the article had been in the form of a notice to patients with a named contact to allow patients to respond with any misgivings.

Many patients will not have seen last week’s story.