…England….this is weird.  Very, VERY weird.

Your professionals (and by professionals I mean Doctors and Dentists) are polite and friendly and your clerical staff (Dental and Medical Receptionists) are holier then thou cow’s.  It’s wrong people!  Completely wrong!!

Clearly you guys didn’t get the memo but its the highly educated and well paid peeps that are meant to treat the layman with a hint of snootiness.  They worked hard, they get good money and they DO know more than most people wandering into their office…so to a certain extent we the normal folk without medical degrees look up to them and accept they know more than us (unless they are complete quack’s and then we just move onto a different doctor).

Every single medical receptionist I have met in the past 12 months (two different medical practice’s with a number of reception staff I’ve met face-to-face and quite a few over the phone from other practice’s) has gone out of her way to make me feel like a drivelling idiot who has no right to be inconveniencing them with queries such as, “Good afternoon, I’m here to register my family with this surgery.  I’ve printed out and filled out all the paperwork.  Is this where I need to go to hand them in?”…or…”Good morning, my son handed in a urine sample last Thursday and the doctor asked me to pop back in a week’s time for results.  Are you able to help me with it or would you rather I take a seat?”.

They snap at me, they sigh and groan (how dare I ask them a question!  sheesh Jen, what were you thinking???) and they give me half-answers hoping I won’t ask for clarification.

I honestly don’t think I’m being overly sensitive.  I’ve met some crappy receptionists back in Australia too but as a general rule I think there is a minimum level of customer service in Australia that just does not exist in this country.  It’s not solely a London thing (where I attended a doctor’s surgery and a dentist today) as the medical receptionists up north were just as bad.

I’m confused about how I’m meant to respond to them?  I don’t like being rude, I don’t like being pushy.  When speaking with them I am polite, friendly and straight to the point as I figure that’s the best approach for getting things done without conflict (I hate conflict).  It’s always been the case in the past.  In fact my Mum has done clerical work since I was 5 and I used to go to work with her on school holidays.  Even when stressed out of her mind she was ALWAYS professional and polite.  Even in the face of complaints she wasn’t a push over but she was never rude.  My mum worked with others also and none of them were rude.  Maybe because my Mum was a senior those around her just weren’t game to be rude?

I understand working reception can be a tiresome job, but seriously!   I’ve met ladies cleaning tables and the toilets at McDonald’s (hopefully not with the same rag) with a brighter disposition than medical receptionists!

On the plus side if you’re looking for clerical work in the UK, customer service skills are not required.  If bitchiness and incessant groaning are assets you possess then you’re a shoe in!

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