A number of London GP practices are training receptionists to do blood tests, Management in Practice’s sister publication Pulse has reported.
Professor Sir Sam Everington, a GP and chair of Tower Hamlets, said that ‘lots of practices’ in the area have taken the step, including his own.
Training a receptionist to carry out blood tests – which can be done in just six weeks – provides much-needed support to pressured practices, he said.
Dr Everington told Pulse: ‘A lot of our receptionists have signed up to be phlebotomists and they love it because actually, phlebotomy is not just about taking blood.
‘You get to know all the patients with long-term conditions and so our phlebotomists know all these patients – they’re friends.’
He added that reception teams are a ‘fertile recruitment ground’ for a phlebotomist. They can ‘manage even the most terrified patients’ and have ‘amazing’ clinical skills.
Dr Everington suggested that training receptionists as phlebotomists can help build trust with patients who are suspicious about having to describe their symptoms for triage by reception staff.
He told Pulse: ‘In our practice, we all train together. We have meetings together, the whole team, and it’s acknowledging in this modern world that actually every member of your staff is a clinician – part of the clinical team – because there are always things they will do or can do that will have an impact clinically.’
Practices in his area have taken on a contract to manage outpatient phlebotomy on behalf of the Royal London hospital, Dr Everington said.
GPs faced a four-month crisis last year when there was a shortage of blood bottles from a key UK supplier of blood test tubes.
A version of this story was first published on our sister title Pulse.