A NEW scheme designed to help direct patients to the most appropriate care is being launched next month at GP practices across the district.

As part of the Care Navigation initiative, receptionists may ask callers seeking to book an appointment a few simple questions to establish who could best meet their needs.

Patients might then be offered a slot within the practice – for example with a GP, nurse or pharmacist – or be referred to such as wellbeing or community services.

Care Navigation, which launches on December 3, will only be available for adults and is completely voluntary.

Health bosses say there is no obligation for patients to share information, and no one will be refused a GP appointment.

Any details shared with the reception team will remain strictly confidential.

Receptionists have completed specialist training and have played a central role in developing the project.

Care Navigation is being rolled out nationally as part of NHS England’s GP ‘Five-year Forward View’, and currently more than 45 sites are involved.

Dr Nick Hayward, a GP and the clinical lead at NHS Bradford District and Craven clinical commissioning groups, said the scheme would help people to access the right care from the relevant service from the outset.

He added: “As the NHS evolves daily, so do the best ways for patients to access healthcare.

“There are now several common services where a GP referral is no longer needed.

“Providing a way for people to be able to refer themselves where it is safe and appropriate to do so will ensure they can be seen more quickly by the person best placed to help.”

Dr Hayward says many GP practices across Bradford district and Craven already routinely ask for further information when a patient calls to book an appointment, but Care Navigation will standardise the process.

He added: “Care Navigation is about choice, not triage.

“You do not have to share details with your local GP practice reception team of why you are calling for an appointment, but it will help us to help you if you do

“The reception team will not provide clinical advice.

“We hope patients across Bradford district and Craven will support Care Navigation and will give it a go when they call to book an appointment, so that we can help everyone to get the right care from the right person, first time.”