Medical secretaries and admin workers are a vital part of the NHS and have extensive specialist knowledge.
Sandra is a cancer tracker, whose job it is to follow a cancer patient through the long process of treatment and care.
She told Socialist Worker, “We’ve got 85 years experience between us but they think we’re typists.
“We read MRI scans, cancer scans and reports. We send the patient to a specific doctor or consultant and book them in for chemo or surgery.
“We specialise so we know the drugs, dosages and procedures. We can spot misdiagnoses and incorrect treatments.”
Medical secretaries are supposed to transcribe doctors’ dictation notes, but now it’s usually outsourced. The secretaries have to re-do them and correct mistakes.
Another secretary said, “I work with elderly patients. We arrange home visits within 48 hours and book consultants to visit rehabilitation homes.
“We’re the first point of contact for patients and we are the ones who have to deal with stressed and angry people with complaints.”
One worker explained, “It’s a sensitive job, and we’re here to help people.
“We’ve had to give people our mobile numbers because the call centre number they are given is premium rate. They’ve run out of credit before they get through.”