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Old 28.10.2015, 14:27
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Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...

Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere, but does anyone know if it's usual, when making a doctor's appointment, to be asked by the receptionist (who, I assume, does not have an M.D) why exactly I need to see a doctor?


I was very tempted to make up something outrageously personal, but was not sure it would translate...


I understand that they may want to decide - again, this bothers me as they are not qualified medical professionals - if you have a potentially life threatening ailment, but beyond that, surely why I want to see a doctor is between me and the doctor... Or am I being all British again?


Thanks, as ever. I look forward to the replies!


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Old 28.10.2015, 14:32
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Re: Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...

I like to think it's so they can write a quick note for the doctor, so he is pre-warned prior to the appointment. However, in practice, the first thing my GP says is "What can I do for you then?", or words to that effect.
I suppose in surgeries that have their own X-ray, ECG or other more technical equipment, they may want to provisionally book a slot for using the machine, especially in shared practices or medical centres.
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Old 28.10.2015, 14:36
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Re: Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...

Usually they are not just "receptionist" but qualified nurses. They do venipuncture and other stuff. Probably they write down the "reason" of appointment on the MDs agenda so that they get prepared? In my case the "receptionist" does ask the reason of my appointment to assess urgency and other stuff. Personally I have no issue with that and don't know how it's in the UK.
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Old 28.10.2015, 14:37
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Re: Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...

Yes, it's horrible. I also don't comprehend why I need to declare my reason for an appointment, other than pre-screening for a blood / urine test etc
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Old 28.10.2015, 14:38
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Re: Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...

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Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere, but does anyone know if it's usual, when making a doctor's appointment, to be asked by the receptionist (who, I assume, does not have an M.D) why exactly I need to see a doctor?
Sure, they need to know how much time to block off for you. A sore throat doesn't take much time but a full physical does. I used to work as a medical receptionist and found it very, very helpful to know what people were coming in for, sometimes you could squeeze two people into one slot, or sometimes you'd need to book half an hour for one person.

All the receptionists I know here are also qualified nurses and are are quite medically knowledgeable, so they are certainly in a position to gauge how urgent or time-consuming a certain medical problem is. They are also bound to medical secrecy. I wouldn't worry too much.
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Old 28.10.2015, 14:39
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Re: Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...

Of course they need to know, they should know how much time to plan, any additional services or people that might need to be booked, etc.


Don't worry, they've heard it all before. If it's something particularly embarrassing I'll just be as vague as I can.


Having a vasectomy done cured me of that though. I recall being slightly embarrassed telling the young female receptionist the reason that I was there, and a mere 15 minutes later she was holding the frank while the beans were being worked on.
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Old 28.10.2015, 14:43
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Re: Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...

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a mere 15 minutes later she was holding the frank while the beans were being worked on.
This is my quote of the day, nay, the week.
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Old 28.10.2015, 14:46
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Re: Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...

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Usually they are not just "receptionist" but qualified nurses. They do venipuncture and other stuff. Probably they write down the "reason" of appointment on the MDs agenda so that they get prepared? In my case the "receptionist" does ask the reason of my appointment to assess urgency and other stuff. Personally I have no issue with that and don't know how it's in the UK.


It's a confidentiality thing with me - in the UK, receptionists are not bound by the same rules that Doctors are - although I doubt many practices would tolerate gossip (although I'm sure it happens...)


As for being medical professionals as well as receptionists... then the one where I go needs more training. Ouchy...
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Old 28.10.2015, 14:47
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Re: Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...

Appears to be a fairly normal procedure.
Based on your info, the receptionists / RNs will schedule appropriate amounts of time for you to see the doc, as well as schedule necessary tests and follow-ups.
After a while, they will become more familiar with you and be able to help accommodate you better.


"As for being medical professionals as well as receptionists... then the one where I go needs more training. Ouchy..."
ouchy? :O If you are talking about blood draws..the nurse is not always to blame. Some people have difficult veins and there are many other factors that make it painful. Hope next time it hurts less.

It's a confidentiality thing with me - in the UK, receptionists are not bound by the same rules that Doctors are - although I doubt many practices would tolerate gossip (although I'm sure it happens...)
All medical personnel are bound by professional confidentiality. (Patientenrecht)
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Old 28.10.2015, 14:52
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Re: Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...

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Having a vasectomy done cured me of that though. I recall being slightly embarrassed telling the young female receptionist the reason that I was there, and a mere 15 minutes later she was holding the frank while the beans were being worked on.
Or in my case having her be told by the Dr to basically "not be shy and use both hands"... don't know where to be chuffed or cringe...
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Old 28.10.2015, 14:54
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Sure, they need to know how much time to block off for you. A sore throat doesn't take much time but a full physical does. I used to work as a medical receptionist and found it very, very helpful to know what people were coming in for, sometimes you could squeeze two people into one slot, or sometimes you'd need to book half an hour for one person.

All the receptionists I know here are also qualified nurses and are are quite medically knowledgeable, so they are certainly in a position to gauge how urgent or time-consuming a certain medical problem is. They are also bound to medical secrecy. I wouldn't worry too much.


Thank you. I'm not worried as such, just irritated that they should presume to know how long you're going to need with the doctor. I assume it's my NHS hangover (you get ten minutes unless you've specified you've got multiple things to discuss - without having to itemise those things, I might add!) but I find it a little uncomfortable. Plus, I wasn't aware that receptionists were bound to medical confidentiality.


And I'm sorry, how can they gauge how urgent it may be? Whatever ails me (to whatever level) may not affect another person quite as much, and vice versa. For example, I once had a boss who was adamant that migraines were merely headaches that could be sorted with over the counter pain meds. Until he had a corker that laid him out for three days in a darkened room not daring to move in case he threw up...


And, as I've said in response to another reply, if medical receptionists are trained nurses then the one who took a sample of my blood on my first visit needs to return her qualification... or go back for more training...

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Of course they need to know, they should know how much time to plan, any additional services or people that might need to be booked, etc.


Don't worry, they've heard it all before. If it's something particularly embarrassing I'll just be as vague as I can.


Having a vasectomy done cured me of that though. I recall being slightly embarrassed telling the young female receptionist the reason that I was there, and a mere 15 minutes later she was holding the frank while the beans were being worked on.


Oh, don't get me wrong, it's not embarrassment. I had a baby with 6 strangers (albeit of the midwifery kind, including two students) in the room and the on call surgeon leaning on a stirrup chatting to the matron... plus I've taught "relationship" poetry (i.e loaded with sexual references, some of which I had to look up beforehand), Shakespeare (ditto - see the graphic sex joke at the start of Romeo and Juliet) and a random bout of PSHSE (or whatever its called now) to many many lots of teenagers. I'm hard to embarrass, is my point. It's pure and simple "I shouldn't have to tell you, you're not a doctor" annoyance.

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"As for being medical professionals as well as receptionists... then the one where I go needs more training. Ouchy..."
ouchy? :O If you are talking about blood draws..the nurse is not always to blame. Some people have difficult veins and there are many other factors that make it painful. Hope next time it hurts less. (Patientenrecht)

No, it was a small finger prick (ba - boom - tish) and a weird procedure where she squeezed a small blood sample out and sucked it up with a pipette. Giving blood is less painful! Plus I'd gone with respiratory problems and she insisted I wear a mask...

Last edited by 3Wishes; 28.10.2015 at 22:32. Reason: Please start using the multi-quote button. It's to the right of Quote.
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Old 28.10.2015, 15:08
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Re: Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...

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No, it was a small finger prick (ba - boom - tish) and a weird procedure where she squeezed a small blood sample out and sucked it up with a pipette. Giving blood is less painful! Plus I'd gone with respiratory problems and she insisted I wear a mask...
I see. Was she taking a sample to determine the crp? Can be a weird sensation She might have wanted you to wear a mask to protect yourself against other patients' microbes. If you need anydoc recommendations let me know..hope you are doing better
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Old 28.10.2015, 15:08
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Re: Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...

Not to add to your concerns, but to be pedantic:

Some receptionists are trained nurses - depends on the practice.

That being said, yes the nurse/practice assistant/person-answering-the-phone needs to know why you need the appointment in order to determine whether you really do need the appointment, and when.

Where I live, due to the shortage of GPs, it is not uncommon that a non-emergent appointment will mean a wait of a few days to several weeks or even more than a month. The practice might be able to squeeze a non-emergent but time critical case in that day, though. A true emergency might need to be directed to the hospital. It is the person-answering-the-phone's job to determine which category you fall into, in order to best serve all the people needing the doctor's help today.

Confidentiality shouldn't be a worry.

Unless you live in a small village, of course.
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Old 28.10.2015, 15:10
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Re: Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...

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I see. Was she taking a sample to determine the crp? Can be a weird sensation
Pretty funny that the OP gave us more information on his health condition in this forum thread than what he was ready to tell the receptionist
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Old 28.10.2015, 15:10
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Re: Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...

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I see. Was she taking a sample to determine the crp? Can be a weird sensation


Dunno, I'm only the engineer, Jim.


What's CRP?


And no, not weird. I know weird. Painful would be the word. And no, I don't have a low pain threshold!
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Old 28.10.2015, 15:11
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Re: Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...

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Pretty funny that the OP gave us more information on his health condition in this forum thread than what he was ready to tell the receptionist


I gave you no information on my current health condition. But I'm happy to have amused you. Have a glorious day!
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Old 28.10.2015, 15:13
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Re: Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...

c reactive proteine. usually done when there is a sudpicion of inflammation.

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Dunno, I'm only the engineer, Jim.


What's CRP?


And no, not weird. I know weird. Painful would be the word. And no, I don't have a low pain threshold!
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Old 28.10.2015, 15:13
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Re: Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...

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I see. Was she taking a sample to determine the crp? Can be a weird sensation She might have wanted you to wear a mask to protect yourself against other patients' microbes. If you need anydoc recommendations let me know..hope you are doing better


Thank you. The finger pricking episode was ages ago. I like to wait many months between appointments! To allay Mr Vertigo's fears, I'm going for something else this time. Something I haven't mentioned here...


And thank you for the offer. (There were no other patients...)
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Old 28.10.2015, 15:17
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Re: Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...

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.....


What's CCR?

...


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Old 28.10.2015, 15:19
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Re: Making a Doctor's appointment and getting past the gatekeeper...



C. R. P.


Thank you for the link, however.
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