#theabusemuststop - Campaign to Raise Awareness of Abuse Towards Practice Staff

You may be aware of a campaign recently launched by the Institute of General Practice Management (IGPM) highlighting the abuse that GP receptionists around the country receive on a regular basis. We are sharing the video with our patients for awareness as our own practice team have had similar statements made to them at times. We recognise this comes from a small minority of patients, or possibly at a time when patients are experiencing major events or health concerns. However, abuse towards practice staff will not be tolerated and may result in patients being asked to register elsewhere, so it’s important we understand how our behaviour impacts on others, whether that be a patient towards a staff member, or vice versa.

We want to help you with whatever query or request you bring to us. But we are under immense demand for appointments with our clinical team, even more so than before the pandemic began. Telephone calls into the practice are starting to exceed 14,000 per month so our reception team are very important in helping to ensure our patients see the right clinician for their concerns, facilitating the volume of requests for appointments and trying to keep the practice as efficient as possible. Receptionists are given a huge amount of training so that when they ask a patient the reason for an appointment request, they have the knowledge to signpost patients to the most appropriate clinician; whether that be a GP, nurse, advanced practitioner nurse, paramedic or registrar. Or even an external resource such as a local pharmacy, etc.

The various healthcare professionals we have here at Westcourt deal with different things, and sometimes more efficiently than other clinicians, so being open and honest with a receptionist with regard to the concerns you have will mean you are directed to the most appropriate person to care for you. The truth is that some patients may not need to see a GP for their concerns and it could be better, and quicker, to see a different healthcare professional. But we do understand if a patient does not want to disclose sensitive information. It just may be there’s a slightly longer wait to be triaged and then passed to the most appropriate clinician for you.

We also recognise that, sometimes, a patient’s experience with the surgery could be better and we’re working hard with the entire practice team to learn from these instances. If you experience a problem with a clinical consultation or conversation with a member of the practice team, please do let us know so we can investigate. Without your input we can’t learn and make changes when something isn’t working. Equally, it gives us the opportunity to feed back to you when something is possibly out of our control, to ensure you fully understand your health pathway. We often receive anonymous reviews on the NHS website or Google and, whilst we understand this is a route patients can choose to take, we often have little to no information submitted in those reviews in order to investigate and learn from patients’ experiences. You are always welcome to contact the practice to advise of concerns and complaints; please visit our complaints page  here.

And don’t forget to let us know when something has gone well; our staff love to hear about positive experiences.

Thank you for the support we have received over the pandemic and we hope this will continue as lockdown eases. The campaign video is below.