Care Navigators to help support patients get to the right service faster

GP practices in Northamptonshire are launching a new scheme to help guide and support patients to access the most appropriate service for their needs.

The scheme entails GP receptionists being given specialist training to help direct patients to the right health professional first time and is called Care Navigation.

When a patient contacts the practice, a care navigator will ask for a brief outline of the problem so they can identify the patient's need. The care navigator will refer to information about services in the practice, other NHS providers and the wider care and support sector and, where appropriate, they will direct the patient to these services. Their goal is to ensure patients get the right care, in the right place at the right time, with the right outcome.

When a patient with symptoms better dealt with by another service such as a pharmacist or dentist, patients can be offered these choices, enabling them to go straight to the service which best meets their health and wellbeing needs.  

Front line staff will provide patients with more information about local health and wellbeing services, both within and outside of general practice, in a safe, effective way.  

Dr Darin Seiger, GP Chair at NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We know that most patients want to see a GP for all of their health related issues, but sometimes they could be seen quicker by another service they could access themselves if they know about it. Care navigators can let patients know about these services, and it will also free up valuable appointments for those who really need to see a GP.”

Six services will initially be available for care navigators to signpost to. As care navigation develops, more services will be introduced. The six services are:

  • Nurse/advanced nurse practitioner
  • Community Pharmacy
  • First for Wellbeing
  • Talking Therapies (IAPT)
  • British Pregnancy Advisory Service
  • Sexual Health (some services)

People Care Navigation in Northamptonshire is being rolled out currently and will be live in all practices by December 2017.  Visit: for more information.

People who require emergency medical assistance are reminded to call NHS 111 for fast and free advice. The NHS 111 service is free to call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.