11 Things a Dr’s Receptionist wants you to know


We’re not trying to be nosy!

If we ask you anything at all about why you’re visiting the Doctor or nurse, we’re not doing it to be nosy; we do it so we can place you in the best clinic to avoid wasting anyone’s time.  There are tonnes of different clinics each day; emergency, minor illness, pharmacist consultations, telephone clinics and locum appointments, just to mention a few. A good amount of appointments with Doctors could be directed elsewhere, saving you even coming into the surgery and saving appointments for people who really need to see a Doctor.

We understand your problem may be personal so we won’t pry if you simply tell us that it’s personal!

We’re not all snooty.

Sure you’ll probably get receptionists with a face like a slapped ass but don’t you in every job?  We love to chat and joke with patients (maybe not at 8am when the phones are non-stop), but treating us like dirt on your shoe won’t exactly encourage any smiles from us.

We don’t like telling you there aren’t any appointments.

When I first started working in the GP surgery we would sometimes only have 2 Doctors for the whole day and it was hell.  We now have 5+ Doctors working each day and it’s blissful.  Trust me- it makes our job easier when there are appointments available.

We have very little say in how the appointment system works so if you have any complaints direct them to the managers, not us!

We aren’t Doctors.

We can’t give you any medical advice because if we get it wrong- guess who’s getting sued?  We aren’t medically trained at all, we’re all first aid trained and you do pick things up from the job over time but please never ask us whether you should carry on taking your antibiotics or whether the lump on your neck is cancer- we don’t know!

We really do care about our job and our patients.

I have yet to meet an NHS employee who doesn’t care about their patients.  The patients are always the #1 priority in our job.

If we can help you we will.

We understand that a GP surgery isn’t always the #1 choice to spend your free time so if we can help make the experience a bit easier, we will.  Whether this is making an appointment with your favourite Doctor, helping you fill out some forms, organising transport or fetching you some water- just ask us.

There is no point in shouting at us; we’re only doing our job.

The more you shout, the less helpful we’ll be.  We will never do or say anything to purposely annoy you,  we understand you might be ill or stressed but taking it out on us doesn’t help matters- we will help you if we can.

We’ve got a really good immune system.

Spending every day in a room full of sick people really does wonders for your immune system, we’re actually hardly ever sick!

The Dr’s are rushed off their feet 99% of the time.

No, the GP can not just squeeze you in- they have lists of patients to see and hours of administration work to do.  Most GP’s work 8am-7pm without a break and only about 4 hours of this time is spent seeing patients.  The amount of  work, other than seeing patients, that Doctors have to do is insane.

We can’t help it if the Dr’s are running late.

I know it’s a thing about visiting the GP; the Dr will be running late.  If you’ve got a grumpy toddler screaming down the waiting room, the last thing you want be doing is waiting another 40 minutes to be seen by the GP.

But trust me- there will be a reason they’re running late! Sometimes they have a complicated patient who they need to spend some extra time with or maybe they need to organise an ambulance for their patient; but guess what? Shouting at us won’t get you seen any sooner.

Our days can be stressful, long and super busy but patients can make it worth our while.

My days are full of phones ringing non-stop, stressed GP’S, snotty children, patients moaning about Dr’s running late and all the admin work but I can honestly say, some of the absolutely wonderful patients we talk too can make it all worth while.  Being told you’ve really made a difference to someone is one of the nicest feelings.

 A simple thank you makes our day.

steph louise x