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Survey suggests patients put off visiting GP surgery by receptionists

Posted on 20/10/2016 by Rob Muddiman

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Almost 2000 patients were questioned for a Cancer Research UK survey, results revealed different reasons why patients are putting off visiting their GP.

40% of patients reported that they were unhappy discussing their symptoms with reception staff in order to get an appointment, and this is a barrier to seeing a GP. The survey also found that 42% would put off visiting their GP because they couldn’t see a particular doctor, or because of inconvenient appointment times. 35% of patients reported that they were worried about being seen as the type of person who makes a fuss.

Dr Richard Roope, Cancer Research UK’s GP expert, said: “Diagnosing cancer early is something we have to take seriously, so anything that might prevent people from getting their symptoms checked needs to be overcome.”

“We need to ensure that patients are able to get appointments at a convenient time, can book an appointment to see a particular doctor and aren’t put off coming to see them in the first place.

“This may mean more emphasis on training front desk staff including receptionists to deal more sensitively with patients.”

Dr Maureen Baker, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs said: “While GP receptionists are valued members of the practice team and play a pivotal role in delivering patient care, we understand that our patients would prefer to speak to their family doctor about their health, especially if it is sensitive in nature. 

“With GPs making more patient consultations than ever before - 60m more a year compared to five years ago – GP receptionists ensure the smooth running of the practice and do their best to help patients see a particular GP at a suitable time for them. 

“However, it is important to remember that they are not healthcare professionals, and are not in a position to make decisions about our patients' health.”

TPP Healthcare are experts in recruiting for temporary and permanent support staff for General Practices. If you would like to discuss recruitment for NHS experienced Receptionists or Secretaries, please do get in touch on 020 7198 6080 or email

Source: BBC