Receptionists: dragons or pussycats?

A study in North West England investigated their roles.

The study involved watching 45 receptionists at work for nearly 200 hours in seven urban practices with a variety of appointment systems. All receptionists had to negotiate with the patients to decide if an early appointment was needed. Receptionists thought they had to protect the GPs’ time. While receptionists can be gatekeepers, many acted as advocates for the patients and arranged urgent appointments.

Some practice policies helped the receptionists determine when a patient