Helen Martin: Don't blame NHS receptionist over hospital collapse

What does a receptionist's job entail? And what experience and qualifications are needed?

Saturday, 13th January 2018, 6:00 am
Aime Gilberston's mum Jenna lost consciousness in a community hospital car park. Picture: SWNS

Who knows? But one thing every receptionist needs is a high degree of common sense. Knowing who’s who in the company, being able to deal with awkward visitors, outraged complaints, or unexpected queries is all part of the work.

A nameless receptionist at Midlothian Community Hospital refused to help panic-stricken 13-year-old Amie Gilberston, whose mother Jenna lost consciousness in the car park after having an X-ray.

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After two collapses, it was another patient who went to help after the teenager had phoned emergency services for an ambulance.

Apparently, the receptionist told a joint director of health and social services that she didn’t know how to handle it, so she did nothing.

It would be easy to blame her. But more accurate to blame NHS recruitment and training for a position, especially in a hospital, where helping patients is surely a predictable part of the job.