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Sinéad – receptionist

Sinéad answers the phone when you call to ask for an appointment.

Sinéad says:

“When you call I will ask you: ‘What is the reason for your call today?’

“The call handlers have a flow chart that is put together by the GPs, so although we are not medically qualified, the questions we ask are those that are recommended by the doctors.

“I may ask you how long they have had symptoms, is it something that is new, or have you had it before?

“If it’s something sudden and serious that makes me think it would be suitable for our paramedic.

“If it’s something that is musculo-skeletal I would think about making an appointment with our physiotherapist.

“If it’s something that is continuous and complex, or if the patient is a child – those are the cases where I would make an appointment with the GP.”

Watch Sinéad explain what happens when you ring the GP practice.

Paul – paramedic

Paul has 20 years’ experience as a paramedic with East Midlands Ambulance Service but mostly works as GP practice paramedic. He is also an advanced clinical practitioner in training.

Paul says:

“I tend to deal with sudden and serious illnesses.

“As an advanced clinical practitioner I am able to assess patients for conditions such as serious coughs and colds and cancer symptoms.

“I can order x-rays and refer on to a specialist for further investigation in the same way as a GP.

“I have 15 minute appointment times and so I have more time to understand the patient and what their problems are.

“As a result I get very good patient satisfaction – people feel heard and that I have fully understood the patient.”

Watch Paul explain how he deals with people’s sudden illnesses or life-threatening conditions.

Warren – physiotherapist

Warren is a “first contact physiotherapist” – which means that if you have problems or pain with joints and bones that you can go straight to Warren, without having to see a GP first.

Warren says:

“I am able to give the patient a thorough assessment.

“I can find out what happened, how long it’s been happening, what causes pain, what have you done previously, whether you’ve taken any medication for it and I do a physical examination.

“If further investigations are required I can arrange for an x-ray or MRI (magnetic resonance image scan of soft tissue areas).

“I can do steroid injections, which used to be done as minor surgery by the GP, and I can prescribe medication for any pain.

“I can also put together a programme of change to help the patient, for example in changing their habits or lifestyle, or addressing their posture, ergonomics, strength and conditions, walking aids, or referral to a surgeon.”

Watch Warren explain how he helps people who are suffering musculoskeletal pain

Dr Shantal – GP

As a GP Shantal works closely with her healthcare colleagues and the reception team at the GP practice.

Shantal says:

“Please help the call handling team by telling the reason for your call and they will book you in with the healthcare professional who is best for you.

“If you want to see a GP on the same day, that may not be possible.

“However, we can make an appointment with another healthcare professional who will be able to give you the treatment you need.

“The specialist staff will have longer appointment times with the patient.

“So they have more time to get into detail with the patient, to explore what’s behind their symptoms, and to treat them holistically.

“Having the additional staff frees our time as GPs to deal with the more complex cases who definitely need our input.

“The patients who benefit the most from the GP’s time are the more complex cases, those who have multiple conditions or chronic pain.”

What Dr Shantal explain the benefit to patients of being seen by other healthcare professionals in the GP practice team

Bin – clinical pharmacist


Bin is a clinical pharmacist in a GP practice. He supports patients by ensuring their medication is appropriate.

Bin says: “We do medication reviews. We speak to the patient, look at the appropriateness of the medication and we’ll check to see if the monitoring is correct, we check the renal function and kidney function and we look at the blood pressure to see if it is in target.

“If we find there is a risk of a cardiac events such as a heart attack or a stroke we would offer lifestyle advice such as exercising, diet and advice alcohol consumption or smoking cessation.

“Addressing all these factors will reduce the patient’s risk.”

Sean – social prescriber

Sean is a social prescriber in a GP practice. He and his colleagues organise weekly coffee mornings in local pubs and community centres. The events are one way that social prescribers support people to make friends and combat social isolation. This has a benefit to their health.

Sean says: “You are heard, you are listened to and there is support out there.

“Within every general practice now there is a social prescriber that’s linked to each surgery so that they are easily accessible, they are easily approachable.

“If you are interested in using the service just contact your GP, they will put you in touch with the social prescriber.”

Last Updated: Monday 19th February 2024 - 9:36:am

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