Care Navigators are part of a relatively new scheme to help guide and support patients to access the most appropriate service for their needs. Care navigation is an essential task for all clinical and non-clinical staff, and may be best considered as a process or intervention rather than a specific role for one specific person in one setting, and needs to be able to take place across the whole spectrum of the individual’s journey, a ‘link worker’ to enable a ‘seamless’ pathway.

While most patients will want to see a GP for all of their health-related issues, some could be seen quicker by another service they could access independently if they have the information on this. Care Navigators can let patients know about these services, which helps to free up valuable appointments for those whose health concerns really need to be reviewed by a GP.

What does a Care Navigator do?

  • Ask patients for a brief outline of the problem over the phone so they can identify the patient’s needs
  • Problem solve and help locate resources
  • Build relationships
  • Create a link between community and health and social services
  • Refer to information about services in their practice on their screen, other NHS providers and the wider care and support sector
  • Front line staff (including but not limited to Receptionists) will provide patients with more localised information about health and wellbeing services, both inside and outside of general practice, in a safe, effective way 

What services can Care Navigators signpost to?

Some of the main services Care Navigators signpost to include but are not limited to:

  • Community Pharmacy
  • First for Wellbeing
  • Talking Therapies (IAPT)
  • Financial support organisations
  • Respite services
  • British Pregnancy Advisory Service
  • Sexual Health (some services)