Warning on legalities of triage by receptionists

Practices have been warned of the legal pitfalls of allowing receptionists to triage patients.

Triage from receptionists
Triage from receptionists
The GPC has reported that some practices expect receptionists to ask patients why they want to see the doctor, before they will allow them to make an appointment.

Such questioning often leads to the disclosure of symptoms, and the GPC has warned that it can feel ‘instrusive and inappropriate’ to patients.

The GPC has produced guidance on the issue, reminding practices that any staff who triage patients must be properly trained in order to avoid complaints.

Patients can express a preference for a practitioner and the practice should aim to comply with any reasonable request.

Patients also have the right to decide to whom they disclose information, and any triage system should be open and transparent so that patients know why they are being questioned.

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