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Facing a recruitment crisis? Just fill vacancies with receptionists

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So let me get this straight. Specially trained receptionists can take over a lot of basic nursing duties. Freed-up nurses, helped by surplus pharmacists and a phalanx of physician associates, can take over from GPs.

We liberated GPs, in turn, are going into A&E to man the casualty barricades. This will allow A&E doctors go ahead being proper consultants. These consultant duties are increasingly being taken over by specialist nurses.

And nurses (see above) are being replaced by uber-receptionists.

Which means, if I’ve got this right, that the answer to the NHS crisis that it’s going to be staffed exclusively by receptionists at every level.

That’s pretty clever when you think about it, because a) They’re relatively cheap to employ and b) What they lack in clinical skills they more than make up for in their ability to say, ‘No, that won’t be possible’.

Alternatively, we could stop this ridiculous musical-chairs of NHS staff and remember that, oh yeah, there’s a reason why these various roles exist and are filled by particular people.

It’s because they have a particular and highly valuable function and require personnel with specific knowledge, skills and talents, and that when you fanny around with them it betrays a lack of understanding on your part and is insulting and undermining for the incumbents.

I realise that’s a statement of the bleeding obvious for most of you, but apparently it isn’t for politicians. For them, let me put it as simply as I can. You wouldn’t get a plumber to rewire your house, would you? Though, in your case, I’ll make an exception.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield.

Readers' comments (11)

  • That leaves the consultants at a loose end.

    Which is great, because we'll still need someone to answer the phones at the surgery.

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  • ha ha good comment

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  • We could replace managers and politicians with f*ck-all and that would still function better and definitely cheaper.

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  • It's certainly true the quality TTO's fell off dramatically after they stopped the Ward Clerks writing them..........

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  • so applying the same logic..lets ask the cabin staff to fly the 767 shall we?

    ludicrous desperate insanity from a hopelessly failed incompetent mismanagement of the nhs..90 % of the parasitical useless mangers need sacking.

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  • But who would monitor the receptionists ? Just had the delight of GESTAPO - sorry always confuse them - CQC popping in for a cuppa ( etc ). With staff members being so new in their role they couldn't possibly find some long serving insider bumping up their monthly income by some dirty finger pointing exercise amounting to the message: how dare you not perform to 100% when you have been funded well below average requirements?

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  • A single handed guy went on holiday
    He could not fill all his days
    Locums went awol
    Staff and patients managed

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  • Just the sort of shake up the NHS needs...the whole organisation needs a spring clean. My own preference would actually be the use of cleaning staff rather than receptionists ...they know the nitty gritty of the consultation room like no other....lets get shot of these dusty over paid Doctors and Nurses...bring in the cleaners....minimum wage naturally. Jolly good.

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  • Laughed till I cried! Thank you Tony and all those who have posted such funny comments and suggestions above. Love the comment about the ward clerks and the TTOs........so true.

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  • Well they already do the vast majority of your 'flu vaccinations so why not..?!

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From: Copperfield

Dr Tony Copperfield is a jobbing GP in Essex with more than a few chips on his shoulder