Can I take your order please?

On the 4th November, there was an article on the BBC NEWS website titled, ‘Receptionists ‘key’ to safe repeat prescription process’. This reported a study from the British Medical Journal.

Here are some quotes from it and my thoughts:

‘GP receptionists play a “hidden” role in ensuring patients get the correct treatments when they need them’

So do we!!!

‘Are receptionists the unsung heroes in general practice?’


‘Many were adept at using a formulary to match brand names with generic equivalents; they often telephoned patients to clarify ambiguous requests, and many kept (individual or shared) notebooks containing knowledge they had gleaned on the job’

Maybe someone should invent a book that contains the names of drugs in it and bring it out twice a year? Or maybe they could send a similar one to surgeries every month!?!

‘Some receptionists, the study found were aware of having to make up for the failings of their doctors’

I do that too..

‘Receptionists in some practices expressed concern that doctors did not check prescriptions thoroughly before signing’

Concern? Its scares the crap out of me!

‘They believed that because of this they had a heavy responsibility to undertake safety checks themselves, although these were not recognised or remunerated’

Safety checks?!? Is that checking blood results? Checking for interactions and contra-indications?

GP receptionists get a basic wage but get a bonus payment for every time they stop a pharmacist from talking to a GP on the phone.

Every surgery should employ a pharmacist to help with the repeat prescription process.

(Please note that this post is not anti-BBC. The article was well written)


5 thoughts on “Can I take your order please?

  1. I agree. How come pharmacists get no credit for doing that job and receptionists do…? We are at the end of the chain and get all the complaints when things go wrong with prescriptions from the surgeries…

  2. I would be concerned that a receptionist, who previously perhaps worked in the bakery, would ring up patients and ask whether they are wanting the right medication.
    Under remunerated, aren’t we all.

  3. I read this blog out to my dispenser and we howled with laughter. Particularly at the point noted that they get a bonus for each time they prevent us from speaking to the GP. I wonder if there is a national leader board or something for these receptionists.

    On a more serious note, a patient told me yesterday that her surgery were changing the appointment system. Now patients have to ring and speak to the receptionist and tell them what is wrong with them (surely this is why patients go to the GP – to get a diagnosis, as they dont know whats wrong with them?), the receptionist then relays the information to the GP, who then calls the patient back to inform them if they are able to have an appointment or not.

    What a load of codswollop!

    Not only are these receptionists “unsung heroes”, they are also now involved in patient care pathways?! Unbelievable!

  4. Oh, receptionists. Lol. Some act like pseudo-doctors. ‘Did not check thoroughly before signing?’. Be glad you got a signed script!

  5. Now I’m sure in the realms of my little brain somewhere that there was an article about receptionists and them influencing prescribing not long ago … Unfortunately I can’t recall the point the of the article or if it has any bearing on this (!! Sorry … Abit of a useless comment … But someone might remember it from somewhere!!) … However … I had a situation a few years back where it took the receptionist and the GP 4 attempts to get an mds script right from a discharge sheet!!!! It wasn’t until my dispenser was jumping up and down and tearing her hair out that the surgery finally let us haves look at the discharge sheet (patient confidentiality ‘n all!!) .

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