Doctors no longer need medical secretaries

Re: Doctors no longer need medical secretaries

16 January 2013

I may not need a secretary but my patients need me to have one. I can't comment on primary care, but in secondary care it's vitally important for patients to be able to have direct access to someone who knows the system, understands who needs an urgent extra consultation, can chase investigations or drug deliveries and triage all sorts of clinical problems. The consultant and their nursing and medical team needs someone who can tell them which message needs dealing with immediately and which one can wait until the end of clinic. Perhaps this isn't the job description of a PA or a secretary. It's probably more the role of a care co-ordinator. But you wouldn't get away with paying anyone on that kind of job description on band 3 or 4.

Competing interests: None declared

Lesley Kay, rheumatologist

The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne

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