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Patients denied option to request GP of same sex

Almost half of patients are not given a chance to see a GP of the same sex, although 19 per cent would prefer to, a survey by

patient and public information forums has revealed.

Although 97 per cent of pa-tients felt they were treated with dignity and respect during their time in a medical setting, 6 per cent believed their ap-pointment was not handled in

a confidential manner by the receptionist.

Some were also concerned about the 'brusque' manner

reception staff took with pa-tients, the survey of services in 33 PCTs found.

One patient commented: 'When I asked if I could have an appointment with a female GP, I was told by the receptionist that I would have to see whoever was available.'

Others raised concerns that they were 'treated like cattle' and their problems belittled

by GPs.

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC

negotiator, said that practices

often had a difficult job balancing patients' wishes with the availability of staff, especially

as a lot of female GPs worked part time. Confidentiality problems with receptionists could often be the fault of premises constraints and poor building structure.

He said the overwhelming perception was that 'GPs offer a more personal, individual service than any other part of the health service'.

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