In order to complete an appointment booking on our clinical system our staff are required to complete a ‘reason for the appointment’ field.
They’re not being nosey or intrusive by asking for a brief reason for the appointment, nor are they trying to diagnose or give medical advice. They are gathering information regarding what the appointment is about which they have been asked to do by our clinicians.
Appointments and resources are stretched and we need to ensure we allocate our time and resources as effectively as we possibly can. Understanding what an appointment is for enables us to do this.
There are a number of reasons for this:
- To ensure patients are given an appointment that is appropriate for their needs and that they are directed to the appropriate clinician
– For example a diabetic review needs to be done by a Diabetes Nurse, a depression review needs to be done by a GP, an ECG needs to be done by a Health Care Assistant.
– If an appointment is booked with the incorrect clinician it will not be possible to do what is required, so not only is the appointment wasted the patient will need to come back at another time to see the right clinician.
- To ensure the appointment is for the correct length of time and at the appropriate time
– A GP appointment lasts ten minutes so if a patient needs to discuss more than one problem an extended appointment may be required.
– Certain disease reviews require a diagnostic check (such as a blood test) to be carried out in advance of an appointment which our staff can arrange.
– Certain procedures, for example coil fits and re-fits, need to be done with a particular clinician within a particular time frame.
- To give the doctor or nurse the information they need to review any relevant medical history
– Clinicians prepare for their surgeries by looking at who is booked in with them and what they are coming to see them about. If a problem is recurring or on-going it is helpful for them to be able to look at any history relating to it including previous consultations, medications, hospital correspondence etc.
- To optimise resources and appointment availability
– Certain things such as simple queries or clarification of issues can be dealt with via a phone call with a doctor or nurse rather than a face to face appointment.
– Simple medication reviews can be done by the doctor over the phone which is quicker for us and means that a patient doesn’t have to come in to the surgery.
Our support staff are members of the practice team and like nurses and doctors they are bound by strict confidentiality rules.
Patients can be assured that any information given by them to any member of the team is treated in confidence. The practice takes breaches of confidentiality seriously and will deal with them accordingly.
If they need to patients can ask to speak to a member of the team in private away from the reception desk, however, if patients feel that an issue is very private and do not wish to say what this is then we will respect this.
As well as covering the reception function all our support staff undertake other roles.
They handle all the organisational aspects of running the practice such as referrals, processing prescriptions, incoming and outgoing correspondence, reporting, record summarising and much more.
As such they are highly trained and skilled in medical administration. Patients can therefore be confident in their ability to meet your needs and support our clinical staff.
It would be helpful if patients refrain from being discourteous or dismissive to staff when they talk to them and give a brief reason for an appointment request in order that we can ensure they get what they need.