Care Navigation is designed to get you the help you need as soon as possible. It’s also about letting you know what options might be available to you, allowing you to make an informed decision. It offers choice, puts patients in control and reduces the number of unnecessary GP appointments.
How Care Navigation works
Staff in GP practices have always ‘signposted’ people to specific services or made suggestions based on their knowledge and expertise. Care Navigation takes this a step further, with staff completing additional training to understand people’s needs better and the different ways those needs could be met.
Not every medical issue needs a consultation with a GP. Common queries can be dealt with by other members of GP practice staff, colleagues elsewhere in the NHS, or by people or organisations in the community.
Care navigators have access to an extensive directory of resources and support. They are trained to listen actively and ask the right clarifying questions to suggest appropriate options to patients.
How Care Navigation happens
When you visit your GP practice or call to ask for an appointment, you might be asked by Reception staff to explain a little about your issue.
This is a crucial step in Care Navigation – the more they know, the more they can use their training and knowledge to help you.
If another member of the team – perhaps an Advanced Nurse Practitioner or Clinical Pharmacist – can deal with your issue, you’ll be given the option to see them. Often, other clinical staff are available sooner than GPs and may have longer appointments times too.
You don’t have to take up the options offered to you or discuss your medical issue if you don’t want to. But it may mean waiting longer to be seen or to get to the right person to help you, and anything you say to any member of staff in a GP practice is 100% confidential.