They - being a GP, nurse, locum or new team member - could just ask the receptionist, but
- the receptionist may not know the answer. Often this is the case, and a time-consuming game of "Pass the parcel" ensues, taking up time of multiple staff. This is no bad reflection on anyone in the practice team; it's just there's so much to know and it's always changing, so it is not reasonable to expect the duty admin team to be 'know it alls'.
- it wastes time - not just the person seeking information (often a GP in the middle of a busy surgery), but the receptionists too.
- it undermines the GP-patient relationship: "...if the GP doesn't even know how to refer me to physiotherapy, how do I know she's even made the correct diagnosis? I know, I'll rebook to see another GP!".