Patients across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw’s GP practices are getting the treatment they need faster thanks to a new initiative from the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System (ICS).

The new scheme is freeing up GP appointments because other members of practice staff have been given training on the range of health and care services available locally and which are most appropriate for different patients’ needs.

One of the 825 none clinical members of staff working in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw who has completed the Care Navigator training is Marie Wild, she is the Head Receptionist at the Chapel Green Practice in Sheffield. She says:

“We signpost people to different services that might be more beneficial to them so they get the quickest and best care. For example, for people who have shoulder or back pain, we have a physio service we would signpost them to first rather than waiting to see a doctor who would then refer them to physiotherapy. Mums with young children who might have ailments like conjunctivitis might not be aware that the pharmacy can treat them for that and the prescriptions are still free.

“It benefits the practice because if we are signposting people to different services we will free up doctor’s appointments for people that do need them.”   

As well as directing patients to different medical services, Care Navigators also help patients make positive choices to promote good health and emotional wellbeing. There are many non-medical schemes that help people’s overall wellbeing and existing conditions include things like walking groups, arts groups and lunch clubs or schemes that offer assistance to obtain advice for issues such as housing, benefits or debt management.

Joanne Barrott, South Yorkshire Regional Excellence Centre Programme Manager, says:

“The South Yorkshire Region Excellence Centre (SYREC) as part of the wider ICS, recognises the value of all care and support staff working in health and social care and this initiative demonstrates how investment in reception staff can have a positive impact on patient care whilst also freeing up GP and Practice Nurse time. This capability makes best use of specialist services in the community as receptionists are in a perfect position to understand the needs of their patient and the local services available. SYREC have a number of similar successes where education and training for care and support staff is making a positive impact on patient care.”

Blake Foster is the Practice Manager at the Chapel Green Practice, he says.

“We reduced from a three week wait to a six day wait for a routine GP appointment within a three week period. It’s also broadened the understanding of the clinicians and the receptionists about the level of services that are available within the local area.”

To view the Chapel Green Care Navigator video, please see below!