Over the coming months you will notice the receptionists ask for a brief outline of your problem when you phone to book an appointment.
This is because we are introducing something called 'care navigation', which is a nationwide NHS initiative. It means we are training our receptionists and clerical staff to help them help patients by identifying the most appropriate place for their care.
Through this specialist training, our practice team will be able to direct you to the most appropriate health clinician for your needs.
Receptionists will never offer clinical advice or triage; this new way of working is about offering you the choice to see more appropriate professionals within the practice team or even somewhere else. If they can deal with the problem directly, it will often be quicker and means you may not need to see a GP at all.
Working in this way helps to free up time for GPs to care for patients with complex or serious health conditions that can only be managed by the GP. More importantly though, it means people are first seen by the clinician that is best placed to manage their clinical problem.
The choice is always yours though and you will never be refused an appointment with a GP, but we hope that next time you contact the practice and speak to a receptionist that you will see the value of seeing another health professional if they are able to help.
In North East Lincolnshire, our receptionists have been specifically trained to navigate patients to the NHS minor ailments scheme, Open Minds services, Virgin sexual health and contraception services, pregnancy termination services and the council's health and wellbeing services. More services will be added to this list as the scheme becomes more widespread.
If you would like someone to explain this in person, a member of our practice team will be happy to help.