The role of the Receptionist has changed in today’s increasingly demanding General Practice environments. They are no longer ‘appointment clerks’ when dealing with calls at the front desk.

Many non-clinical staff are now asked to help manage some of the demands for appointments with clinicians by ensuring only those patients that need to be seen are given the appointments, and by the correct clinician, at the correct time from a clinical safety point.

The ability and skills needed to communicate effectively on the phone are often underestimated.

To find out the right information when initially handling the call by probing, will then provide the receptionist with the ability to sign post and prioritise.

However, many non-clinical staff will be reluctant to take on what they see as ‘triage’ – even when they may have been doing it for decades already!

The need to understand and be understood depends on good communication. It improves our relationship with others, as well as being beneficial to our work effectiveness and quality of the care we deliver.

Rapport, trust and confidence, linked with an ability to sympathise and understand the context for the patient, will increase our ability to arrive at a mutually agreeable outcome. We need a degree of ‘customer service’ skills; even in a health care environment.

Good customer service skills are increasingly recognised as being of critical importance amongst all staff that interact with the public, especially when dealing with difficult or demanding people.

The aim of this session is to provide delegates with the skills and understanding required to probe, signpost and prioritise by communicating effectively; to deliver excellent customer care and to provide information on how to deal with those patients who can be difficult, demanding or frequent service users.
The session will include experiential learning through participative activities to demonstrate how and when to use the skills and strategies discussed, group exercises and discussion.

There will be no role play.

The session covers

  • Telephone Interactions – the purpose of probing
  • What signposting really means and why it is an important part of the work of a Receptionist
  • The benefits and risks of working on the phone
  • The differences between face to face and telephone communications
  • The importance of good communication skills
  • How to overcome barriers to communication
  • Understand what is really meant by active listening
  • What makes someone a difficult caller?
  • How do you manage difficult callers?
  • Good practice when taking a call
  • The importance of prioritisation and signposting skills (including managing emergencies where appropriate)

Teas and coffees will be included.

Managers and Clinicians are also welcome!