Two CCGs are funding courses to train receptionists in customer care, to help staff ‘make each patient feel valued and at ease’.
NHS Bradford City CCG and NHS Bradford Districts CCG have run customer care training for several weeks, and they said that has been an ‘enthusiastic response from practice staff who are keen to increase the skills they need to deal with patients and improve overall quality at their practices’.
It is part of a wider drive to improve patients’ experience of and access to primary care.
Dr Andy Withers, clinical chair of Bradford Districts CCG, said: ‘GP receptionists are often the first point of contact for a patient so it’s vital they make a positive impression. We’ve had a really good response from local practices to the offer of training and I’m confident that this will further improve staff’s customer service and communication skills.’
Sharon Barraclough, business development manager at The Grange Practice in Bradford, said: ‘The benefit of good customer service cannot be underestimated and for many receptionists the favourite part of their job is the interaction they have with patients – however, it’s not always the easiest part.
‘Training is vital to what we do “on the front line” and this course recognises the important role every member of the practice team plays in making sure that all patients receive the best quality of care possible.’
A study from 2013 found that GP receptionists’ reputation as grumpy and unhelpful is unfair because they have such a difficult job in prioritising patients with minimal time, information and training.