An article by Des Spence, a full time GP and a columnist in the British Medical Journal has called for Medical Secretaries to be phased out across the NHS, saying that “there is no justification for PAs within the NHS structures.”
His statements resulted in a barrage of comments from medical professionals, the majority of whom were totally against his views.
In the article he stated that paper is dead, therefore we no longer need secretarial support. He goes on to say that he types up all referrals and reports himself, answers emails on the go and uses a phone as his diary.
But is this common practice amongst GPs?
The comments by readers of the article certainly suggested otherwise, and our Medical Secretarial students in London and Manchester are still very much in demand, and have no problem finding a job after their course.
Spence also states that the addition of PAs, secretaries and administrators to a department means that the senior staff are detached from the frontline.
But it’s hard to believe that this is a real issue for medical consultants, as PAs free up their valuable time to enable them to do what they do best, and concentrate on dealing with their patients.
Besides, without medical secretaries, who will be available to do the secretarial work?
The removal of Medical Secretaries would surely see Consultants having to do admin and secretarial work (even with the help of technology) alongside their main duties, which is surely detrimental to themselves, their patients and the smooth and efficient running of the medical department.
Plus, the patients rely on medical secretaries just as much as most consultants do, and who would be available to relay important information to patients?
Medical Secretaries do more than just type up letters – they play an extremely vital part in the smooth running of medical departments across the country, and are widely regarded as an important member of the team, by both their colleagues and the patients.
They have, for a long time, and will continue to be the essential link between the patient, and their doctor or consultant.
Published by Holborn Training.
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