A few months ago I phoned up my GP surgery to make an appointment for my fiancé. The receptionist not for the first time asked me what the appointment was for. Receptionists are not doctors or nurses, and whilst many of them do a very good job deal with the more idiotic elements of the community on a daily basis they have no right or reason to ask why you are making an appointment. Certainly in my surgery the information does not reach the doctor before you see them, they can not suggest you see a nurse or not make the appointment instead, they do nothing with the information. I had a choice, I could explain this to her in a calm and non-confrontational manner or I could take the childish option......
Me: "The patient is a 24 year old female presenting with pyrexia with haemoptysis and epistaxis with intermitted hypertension and tachycardia. No previous relevent medical history or history of recent trauma. Whats your Diagnosis doctor?"
Receptionist: "I'm not a doctor, I'm just a receptionist"
Me: "They train receptionists to diagnose?"
Receptionist: "No I..."
Me: "to triage patient appointments allowing more acutely unwell patients a chance to obtain an appointment?"
Receptionist: "No its first come first ser..."
Me: "Ah so you pass on the relevent information to the doctor so they are prepared for a patient before they arrive?"
Impressively Resilient Receptionist: "No we dont note the information anywhere we arent allowed to write in patient notes or their electronic records...."
Me: "So what times her appointment?"
I dont feel good about the above conversation but I had recenly taken my fill of GP Surgery Receptionists on my community placement who were just asking patients what they were seeing a doctor for out of pure curiousity or "incase the information became useful later". To be fair the last few times I have phoned my GP surgery the receptionists have been very curteous and not asked me for any confidential information, they have simpley done what they are paid to do.