One in eight GPs admit letting receptionists decide which pa Sept 2, 2013 8:43:25 GMT
Post by Focus on Sept 2, 2013 8:43:25 GMT
GPs have admitted letting receptionists act as 'telephone triage' to decide which patients get urgent appointments, according to a new survey.
One in eight practices admitted using the untrained practice staff to determine who needs to be seen first and who can wait.
GPs have admitted letting receptionists act as 'telephone triage' to decide which patients get urgent appointments, according to a new survey
While most surgeries use such triage systems - which help ensure those who are most in need are prioritized - the decision is usually made by clinically trained staff who have been taught to recognize the key signals or alarm bells.
The survey of 1200 GPs, nurses and practice managers revealed that 13 per cent of surgeries allowed receptionists to take the decision - sometimes with no input from a professional medical senior, the Telegraph reports.
The survey was carried out by Campden Health, a clinical research and publishing company.
It also found that almost half of GP practices who use 'phone triage' did not give their staff training in how to identify serious symptoms, which required urgent care. It comes as doctors said they were wasting time seeing patients who did not need an appointment.
They told researchers that six patients a day were taking up appointments at the average family practice, who could have been treated elsewhere or at home.
Campden Health estimated the time wasters cost the NHS £1 billion a year across almost 64,000 UK GPs practices.
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association told the paper she was deeply concerned about the rising trend which she said was 'becoming more widespread.'
She added:'Patients' lives are put at risk by decisions to cut costs in this kind of way; there is a huge risk of symptoms being missed when the assessment is being made by an un-trained person who can't even see the patient.'
GPs told researchers that six patients a day were taking up appointments at the average family practice, who could have been treated elsewhere or at home
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Association's GP committee added that receptionists should never be asked to take on responsibilities requiring clinical judgement.
Examples of patients who did not need appointments were those with minor ailments, and those seeking antibiotics needlessly and requesting repeat prescriptions, which can be arranged by clerical staff.
And what a pain in the arse this is too ... having encountered this personally I really take umbrage at having to tell a snooty, full of self-importance receptionist why I need to see the doctor, I mean ffs it's none of her fcking business and she is NOT medically trained to decide whether my reason for wanting to see my doctor is important enough to get me through her fcking radar!! - Rant over - Fx