Care Navigation is tried and tested mode of care that improves access to primary care services for patients and reduces GP pressures all in one. It allows front line staff to provide patients with more information about local health and well being services, both within and outside of primary care, in a safe and effective way. It is about offering patients choice and help to access the most appropriate service first which is not always the GP. It means that patients will find it easier to get a GP appointment when they need one.
Care Navigators are receptionists and admin staff who have been given special training to help them direct patients to the right health professional first time. For example, when a patient presents with symptoms that would be better dealt with by another service such as a pharmacist or optician, patients can be confidently offered these choices, allowing them to go straight to the service which best meets their health and wellbeing needs. Our team will ask for a brief outline of the problem so they can identify the patients needs. This will allow the care navigator to refer to information about services in the practice, other NHS providers and the wider care and support sector. Where appropriate, they will direct the patient to these services. You won’t be asked to divulge any personal or confidential information, and you can refuse of course, the option is yours and you will never be refused a GP appointment.
Across Blackburn with Darwen surgeries are working hard to make sure that when people need to see a GP, they have access to one quickly and in a way that suits them, be that in person or over the phone. Sometimes though, the GP isn’t really the best person to see. Patients could be seen and treated quicker by a pharmacist or optician for example. That’s where care navigation comes in.
Five services are currently available for Care Navigators to signpost to and more will be added as this develops. These are:
- Minor Eye Treatment service
- Health and Wellbeing
- Age UK
- Community pharmacy
For more information about self care for common conditions that can be treated without the need for a GP appointment can be found at : http://www.selfcareforum.org/fact-sheets/