Table 2

Systems in the waiting room/reception area in relation to confidentiality breaches.

Calling patient to consultantReceptionist's initial contact with patient/queuing areaProfessionalism of practice staff
Positive
Patients were allocated a coloured number card on arrival.There was a bell to ring for attention at both the reception desk and the dispensary which prevented patients from waiting at the reception desk for long periods of time.Receptionist rarely asked the name of the patients, they did not ask for more information than was needed.
Reception desk was small and separated from the waiting room by a window which the receptionist closed each time they had seen a patient. This prevented the patients in the waiting room overhearing conversations taking place behind the reception desk.Receptionist did not repeat any information they were told over the telephone.
Receptionist spoke very quietly.
Negative
The GP announced both the forename and surname of each patient.Practices with no bell to ring for attention meant that patients were waiting at the reception desk encouraging patients to look for reception staff.Receptionist repeated the information they were told over the telephone on many occasions.
The nurse called out the patient's name more than once. Patients were given their medical notes when called to see their GP.The receptionist spoke quite loudly.