A receptionist’s view from a GP Surgery during COVID-19


Practices across South East London (SEL) are looking at ways that will allow staff to work flexibly during the current COVID outbreak while ensuring patients get the best possible care. Some of these solutions include: Flexible Telephony, Remote Access to clinical systems and Online Consultation.

We spoke to two receptionists at a GP practice in Lambeth with 13,000 registered patients and 10 GPs that has implemented all these solutions from scratch in just 14 days.

You can listen to a 12-minute podcast of our interview.  But we know these are busy times so we’ve distilled one key message from this practice which has changed from a no appointment walk-in system to a total telephone triage system in just two-weeks, and has done this whilst ensuring patient access – no mean feat at a time of maximum demand due to COVID-19. 

The practice is still doing everything it needs to, and receptionists are still able to do their roles.  But they are now more focussed, and less distracted by the multi-tasking that inevitably comes with managing patients who are in the surgery.

Or you could dip into the recording and hear the receptionists talk about:

  • The challenges of adjusting to the new ways of working, particularly IG and data protection and how they overcame that (at 3 minutes, 29 seconds)
  • How staff are helping patients adjust to the changes in the service (at 4 minutes, 56 seconds)
  • The benefits of working from home, such as saving lots of money and time on travel (6 minutes, 03 seconds)
  • Being able to concentrate better on the job in hand (6 minutes, 23 seconds)
  • Many more patient calls being answered as a result of teamwork (6 minutes, 33 seconds)
  • Introducing change comes with hiccups but with good communication and perseverance it can and does work (7 minutes, 21 seconds)
  • Using WhatsApp groups for peer support, learning, keeping connected and having fun (8 minutes, 53 seconds)

How to find out more

All GP practices and some other primary care services have been supplied with telephony and remote access licences and are ready to set up using step by step guides. Please contact your local borough leads for help with this now and in the future: