Virtually everyone who calls a GP surgery to make an appointment asks to see to a GP, but very often help will be available more quickly from other highly skilled medical professionals such as nurses or pharmacists, or from another services, including the voluntary sector, who can support people with a wide range of social, emotional or practical needs.
From autumn 2017, many Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire practices will be participating in our Care Navigation project.
Receptionists from those practices will receive training as care navigators, to help them to direct patients to the most appropriate source of help.
Receptionists will then be able to refer to information about other services that are available, either in the practice, other NHS providers or the wider care and support sector. In order to carry out this role the receptionists will have access to up-to-date web based information about local services in the health and care system.
Many practices have already added a telephone message delivered by a Partner or Senior GP explaining the reasoning behind reception staff asking patients more specific questions.
If the public don’t want to answer the questions which the receptionists ask, they are not obliged to do so however by doing so we can make sure that those people who really need to see a GP can see them as soon as possible.
A short video which explains how care navigation works, and the benefits is available below: