You may have noticed that we now ask for a brief outline of your problem when you call to make an appointment at the practice. This is because we have developed a new role in the practice - called a care navigator - to help you to see the right health professional first time. We have trained a number of staff to take on this new role. Our care navigators will work with you to fully understand what your needs are and ensure that we help you with your problem efficiently and conveniently. Their goal is to ensure that you get the right care at the right time in the right place with the right outcome.
Through specialist training, our team can now offer more choice on who to see in the practice and help you get to the right health professional fast. Our care navigators never offer clinical advice or triage; this is about offering you the choice to see other more appropriate health professionals, often quicker and without the need to see the GP each time.
For example, we often get calls that can be dealt with by an optician, the pharmacist, or the nurse, that you may not be aware of if you haven’t visited the practice in a while.
By working this way, it helps us to free up time for GPs to care for our patients with complex or serious health conditions and it means that you will find it easier to get a GP appointment when you need one. More importantly though, it means you are seen by the most appropriate health professional that is best placed to deal with your problem each time you visit us. The choice is up to you.
Patients - Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why are you doing this?
Across Blackburn with Darwen we 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 nurse or a pharmacist for example and in some cases, the GP practice might not be the right place at all for the query. About 15% to 20% of the work done by GPs could be carried out by a more appropriate health care professional.
Q. What if I don’t want to tell a receptionist why I want to see a doctor, that’s private?
You can refuse of course, the option is yours and you will never be refused a GP appointment. Please be assured that if you need to see a GP, you will get to see a GP.
Receptionists (care navigators) will never offer you clinical advice or triage you; this new way of working is about offering you the choice to see other health professionals who will be more appropriate than the GP, and who may often be able to see you quicker and easier.
Q. Is this about cutting services and saving money?
No. It’s a tried and tested model of care that improves access to primary care services for patients and reduces GP pressures at the same time. We know it’s not always easy to get to see a GP when it is convenient for you.
Care navigation is about giving patients choice and supporting and guiding them with the right information about other health care professionals who have the expertise to deal with a problem; often quicker and without the need to see the GP each time