Receptionists have an essential role in primary health and should have “greater recognition”, a study published in the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP) has claimed.
An environment where receptionists give feedback could create a better practise system, benefiting both patients and staff the University of Manchester researchers said.
“It might be the case that what are portrayed as individual failings on the part of receptionists are actually due to systemic problems within GP practices,” lead author Johnathon Hammond said.
By observing receptionists at work for 200 hours then following up with interviews, the researchers found receptionists feel responsible for protecting the vulnerable.
However, protocols set by GPs and patients who try to “play the system” make the job harder.
Minimal training, time and information also impact on receptionists’ ability to prioritise patients in a short amount of time, according to the study.
“Receptionists should be enabled to consistently fulfil their potential as the key link between the community and their primary care NHS services,” the study said.