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Influencing CCGs to deliver customer care training for GP receptionists

Last year, Healthwatch gathered views from people across the district about their experiences of GP practices and produced a report called 'Invisible at the Desk'. This year we've been pleased to see that report is now resulting in some real improvements for patients across our district.

'Invisible at the Desk' made a number of recommendations, one of these was to provide better training for reception staff in GP practices, as some patients had reported poor experiences and feeling that sometimes receptionists acted as a barrier to getting the appointments they needed.

Dr Andy Withers, Clinical Chair of Bradford Districts Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) says the Healthwatch report influenced them to take action,

"Invisible at the Desk certainly resonated with us as GPs; we recognised that patients had a problem accessing GPs. Clearly we wanted to improve our services but it was very difficult to know what to do about it.
"It was suggested that we invest in training for our receptionists, to try and help them see the problem from the patients' point of view. Nearly every practice in the NHS Bradford City CCG and NHS Bradford Districts CCG area has taken part in the training and receptionists generally have been very positive about it."

The two CCGs have now rolled out the courses across the district. They aim to help staff 'make each patient feel valued and at ease'.

Wendy Haines is a member of the Grange Practice Patient Participation Group, and she says she noticed a real difference when the training was introduced,

"By having this training, I think now that they do come across softer. People are coming in with a smile on their face and going out with one; I've noticed a big change."

Following on from the 'Invisible at the Desk' report Healthwatch Bradford and District will continue to be involved in the national network's approach to addressing the issues in primary care, focusing on the needs of particular communities and pushing for changes to the way services are designed and run.

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