The day begins at 7:45am with the usual unlocking of the Practice, turning on computers, emptying the dishwasher, switching on the TV’s and radio, in the waiting room. Opening blinds, switching on lights and unlocking internal and fire doors.
Once this is all done, the next step is to sign into all the applications on the computer required for the day in order to answer the phones and deal with requests appropriately. At 8am the doors open and the phones start ringing. If working in the back office, this is mainly dealing with all the incoming calls. Quite often we can have 12 to 13 calls waiting first thing. There are usually 3 to 4 of us answering the phone calls during the day. We try to get through these as quickly as possible, mainly AMGP queries from patients who don’t use the online system themselves. The phones can be busy with constant phone calls for about an hour in the morning, then they start to peter off.
If working on the front desk, the main priority is to deal with patients coming into the surgery. There can be all sorts of reasons for attending the Practice. Most people have appointments to attend either with a clinician, or one of our nurses and Health Care Assistants, for numerous reasons. We have people coming in with queries about joining the Practice or bringing in completed Registration Forms. Requesting Blood Pressure machines to loan out, travel forms for vaccinations, the queries are numerous and of great variety and differing in importance.
During the afternoon, we can still have quite a few phone calls, these are mainly prescription orders, or general non urgent queries. The front desk is constant all day with people coming and going. We keep an eye on the reception emails and deal with any requests coming in this way. Also on Friday, we deal with any prescriptions being requested via email under the prescription email. Plus, the clinicians and our pharmacist can put requests onto a system asking us to call patients to book appointments for bloods, ECGs, pass on messages etc. In an afternoon, any bloods taken are spun to preserve them until collection at lunchtime the next day, so again it’s down to the reception team to make sure this is done and not left.
The receptionists also have other administrative roles, that they are solely responsible for. These include, carer’s champion, room and staff rotas, health and safety, deductions (patients who have left the practice or deceased), filing paper notes etc.
Towards the end of the day, the room rota for the next working day is updated on the board in the back office, and the room name plates changed and unprinted prescriptions are removed from the printer and locked away. The phone system switches off at 6pm. Then it’s just securing the building, closing windows, switching off radio and televisions. Loading and switching on the dishwasher. Shutting down the computers and off home. Ready for another busy day again on the following day.
An extra duty, done mainly during our Saturday surgery, is the processing of all new registration forms. They can take up to 20 minutes each one, so while the phones are off it’s a good opportunity to get this done.
Overall, a GP receptionist’s day is filled with patient interactions, administrative tasks, and multitasking to ensure that the medical practice runs smoothly, and patients receive the care they deserve and need. It’s a very demanding role that requires excellent organizational skills, communication abilities, and a compassionate approach to patient care.