All sixteen GP practices in Portsmouth are introducing a care navigator scheme which should help patients see the most appropriate healthcare professional faster.
Around 230 practice staff across the city, including a number of receptionists, have received external training for the role.
The role won’t offer clinical advice but will help patients get signposted to the most appropriate health service for their needs.
Dr Linda Collie, a Copnor GP who is the clinical lead for NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group, said: ‘We know that it’s not always easy trying to navigate local health services to find out who is best placed to help you for a particular health problem or concern.
‘Care navigators have access to a directory of information about services to point patients to the most appropriate source of help, advice and support.
‘On many occasions, a GP might not be the most suitable person for the patient to speak to or see.
‘Patients can often be seen much quicker by a nurse or physiotherapist, for example.’
The training was funded by the NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group.
Dr Collie added: ‘In some places, a GP practice may not even be the right place for an enquiry.
‘The next time that you make an appointment at your practice, you may be asked some questions about the reason for your appointment.
‘Don’t be offended by this – it’s simply so that the care navigator can ensure that you see the person best suited to help you.
‘We want you to see the right person, first.
‘You don’t have to do this. The care navigator is not being nosy, and will respect both your privacy and your right to say ‘no.’
‘But the care navigators will play an important role in not only help you to access faster healthcare, but also ensuring that GPs can dedicate most of their time to those patients who most need their help.’