Current Students and Staff

// University News

17 Aug 2016

New research sheds light on the real experience of calling the GP surgery

Pioneering research into GP receptionist interaction with the public over the telephone has revealed how patients have to ‘push’ for effective service.

The study, led by Elizabeth Stokoe, Professor of Social Interaction in the Department of Social Sciences, examined – for the first time – how receptionists interact with patients over the telephone.

Professor Stokoe uses conversation analysis to understand the organisation of communication in different interactional settings and to highlight what constitutes [in]effective communication.

Conversation analysis of 447 recorded calls from three GP surgeries in England showed that ‘patient burden’ occurred near the start and at the end of the conversation. In both instances, the onus was increasingly placed upon the patient to drive calls forward in order to achieve good service. For example, patients are left hanging.

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