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GP's advice You will be blamed for your staff's hubris

Non-clinical staff should not dispense their own clinical advice. This is hubris. Your medical defence body and the GMC would be aghast if they knew. It is only a matter of time before something goes wrong and the buck would stop squarely with the receptionists' employers ­ you. Any error would be untenable.

As your other two partners are husband and wife they will stick together, so you face two issues. You really need your partners on your side first.

Write to your own defence body explaining the situation. The reply is your ammunition. At the same time think about the issue of 'unnecessary consultations', as you need a carrot as well as a stick. Triage should offer a way out of this situation. Assuming you do not already have a practice nurse trained up this will initially have to be done by the partners. Ultimately nurse triage could replace your present system.

Show the defence body letter and your ideas to your partners. They really will have no choice but to change. The receptionists may be more difficult! This can be presented to them in the form of 'new guidelines'. It would also be useful for them to have a printed 'script' they can use initially to explain the new system to patients. The knowledge they have picked up over the years may be an asset. Their enthusiasm should be diverted more positively towards data entry, IT and patient letters.

 · If anything goes wrong the buck would squarely stop with the employer ­ you

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