A senior health boss has said recruiting GP receptionists is difficult because of the "stick" they receive from patients.
Clive Newman, director of primary care at NHS Derby and Derbyshire, told a Derby City Council meeting there had been a "rapid turnover" of staff.
Mr Newman said staff were "in front of a system which behind them doesn't always have the capacity".
He said some had been "in tears", adding: "They don't need to take that."
Labour councillor Martin Repton said: "I don't know what influences practices have over the recruitment, retention and training of doctors' receptionists.
"Most are absolutely superb but if you get one who's not very helpful or does not seem sympathetic, that is not a good experience for the actual patient.
"Are there any difficulties in getting and retaining receptionists? How do we make sure we get the right ones and they are trained in the right way?"
Mr Newman said he had sympathy for receptionists, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
He said: "I've been in practices where receptionists have been in tears because of the stick they get. As a consequence, you won't be surprised to know, the turnover of those people is quite rapid. They don't need to take that every day.
"There is a lot of training that goes on and we are pushing care navigation training which tries to support the receptionists in how they can respond and speak (to patients)."
Conservative councillor Nicola Roulstone said she had sympathy for receptionists at GP surgeries, describing some people's behaviour as "awful".