NHS receptionists take the brunt of patients’ frustrations over a lack of appointments and long waiting times, research suggests.

A study found staff who are ‘front-of-house’ in GP surgeries, hospitals and dental clinics ‘take the flak for things that are not their fault’.

Researchers argue an inability to get an appointment in the NHS is ‘the result of funding shortages’ that are ‘beyond the receptionist’s control’.

The research was carried out by Lancaster University and led by Professor Paul Baker, of the department of linguistics and English language.

‘Rather than suggesting that receptionists need retraining or that surgeons deserve pay rises, we instead noted that feedback is very much linked to expectations and constraints around different staff roles,’ Professor Baker said.

‘So jobs that involve saving your life or delivering a new life are seen as more impressive than the more support-based work carried out by nurses and receptionists, attracting. Feedback has a role bias in other words.

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