WE'VE all heard the jokes about GP receptionists being the gatekeepers, the dragons stopping people being able to see their GP. But what you don’t hear about, what you don’t see, is just how tough this job has become for us.

You might say that we should be able to deal with people demanding appointments, or complaining their prescription isn’t ready as quickly as it should have been, after all it’s part of the job, right?

And to some extent we would agree. Don’t forget we are all patients at a GP practice too and we will have experienced similar frustrations.

But what shouldn’t be part of the job is the abuse, abuse that happens so often now that as GP receptionists we sadly consider this “the norm”.

You may question how bad it really is for us, wonder if we are exaggerating. We are not. 85% of us have experienced verbal abuse, some of us have also been subject to physical abuse.

We are shouted and sworn at on a regular basis. We have been spat at, threatened with being set on fire and having our faces “smashed in”. We are often told “if I die, it will be your fault”. Yet somehow, amazingly, we still come back, every day, to try our best to help YOU.

So, we ask you, please, be kind, and think before you shout at your GP receptionist – would you like someone to treat a member of your family like that?

All Darlington GP receptionists