South East London stories
Gina is a highly experienced Reception Lead, who began her career in healthcare in 1983.
She said, “We had no computers then, just a large appointment book patient notes and a couple of phones and only 3 consulting rooms. Our patient list was of about 8,500 and every day we had to pull out notes for each doctor’s surgery with a copy of the appointment list. Then after the surgery had finished, we then put the notes back on the shelves.
Our staff consisted of 5 receptionists, 4 doctors, 2 secretaries and 1 nurse and 1 practice manager who looked after all the surgeries.
In September 1993 we moved premises and this was the start of bigger things, computers!
We had to have lots and lots of training as it was so different to just flicking through a book full of sheets of paper and it took a while to grasp the booking appointments to booking the patients in when they arrived. The minor casualty unit came down from the hospital into the surgery along with the sister who ran it and was always very busy. Very quickly our patient list expanded to 10,000 patients and more staff had to be employed.
In 2016/17 we merged with another surgery, gaining 2 more GPs and 3 receptionists and our patient list increased to 15,000.
We then went through the crisis of Covid which was a challenge to everyone but our doors never closed. Our phones did not stop ringing and it was a totally different way of life. Doctors were having to work off site doing telephone triage and nurses couldn’t do all of their duties only essential ones, but we battled through and survived.
In 2023 our patient list keeps growing and our primary care team are more diverse. I look forward to continuing my role as Receptionist Lead many more years”