Leeds & West Yorkshire

Bradford doctors' receptionists get 'charm' lessons

Receptionists at doctors' surgeries in Bradford are to get customer care training after concerns from some patients about "staff attitudes".

The courses are being run in 70 GP practices by the city's two clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)

Receptionists will learn how to deal with angry patients and try to provide alternatives to a consultation with a doctor.

The CCGs said they were also looking at introducing an online booking system.

More than 800 staff will take the three-hour course at a total cost of £33,000.

'Patient's perspective'

Dr Andy Withers, clinical chairman of Bradford Districts CCG, said he hoped the training would improve patients access to primary care.

Dr Withers said that national surveys suggested that Bradford did less well on patients' experiences of dealing with receptionists.

"We are trying to get people working on reception to try an look at the problems of accessing GP appointments form the patient's perspective," he said.

Lorraine Goody, who manages a GPs' practice, described working on reception as a "lot of pressure".

"The phones start ringing straight at eight o'clock," she said.

"They're constantly there, the girls, answering the phones straight away. We do get a lot of criticism but at the end of the day we are there to do a job."

According to figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, there were 22,643 written complaints about the administration of general practices in England last year, a rise from a total of 13,933 complaints in 2013.

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