Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today raised concerns over reports that GP receptionists are screening patients in a bid to reduce the number of appointments.
Reports today reveal that receptionists and administrative staff are being trained as ‘care navigators’ so that they are able to direct patients to other health professionals. It follows the news that one in eleven GP surgeries are turning away new patients.
Commenting, Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
"Receptionists do an important job and are critical to practices running smoothly. However, half a day’s worth of training in screening and signposting patients can never compare to the years of training that doctors and nurses undertake. People will be concerned about the possibility of patients falling through the cracks.
“This is yet another sign of the GP crisis that the SNP Government has overseen. We’re seeing GPs retiring, practices closing, others restricting access and an increasing number of elderly patients with complex health needs.
"It is time to end the GP crisis and avert further problems by delivering the required funding, immediately guaranteeing the rights of EU staff working in our NHS and introducing a new mental health practitioner in every surgery, relieving the pressure on other parts of the service.”