The role of Receptionist will change from that of simply helping patients to book a Doctor’s appointment to helping patients see the most appropriate care professional for their specific needs. As a result it will become much easier for patients to get an appointment with the GP when they need it, and will shorten the wait to get the most appropriate help for their specific needs.

Our Patient Navigators will enable benefits for patients and staff and maximise resources by:

Patient navigation gives the team a better understanding of how to help each patient, when they call for an appointment. The doctor is not always the first person a patient needs to see. Staff know their boundaries and will never give clinical advice. They will be able to suggest different options to the patient other than just seeing the GP. Patient Navigators can spend time getting to know patients and their carers, identifying unmet needs and connecting them with sources of support. There are a number of known common issues included social isolation and inactivity and their knowledge of the local voluntary and community groups will help. They will be able to signpost patients on to the nursing team, physiotherapists, paramedics, opticians, pharmacists, and third sector organisations that have the expertise to deal with the patient’s problem. This reduces unnecessary doctor’s appointments or hospital visits and frees that time up for the doctors to care for our patients that have complex or multiple long-term conditions.

Patients can always come back to see a GP of course, it’s not about placing a barrier – it’s about enhancing the service and care our patients receive.

This way of “non-medical” triage has been trialled in many Surgeries with proven success:

West Wakefield Health and Wellbeing was one of the Prime Ministers’ Challenge Fund sites and trialled the concept of Active Signposting and Care Navigation in early 2016. A total of 57 Receptionists in 6 Practices across the area were trained to work as Care Navigators for patients. Between them they signposted over 9,500 patients in 7 months and saved over 1,685 hours in GP time across Wakefield.

Click here to read a Primary Care Navigation Case Study

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