Recent editions of Focus have had letters in ‘Over to you …’ about GP Receptionists at Crouch Vale Medical Centre. Perhaps a summary of bits of the new NHS leaflet “A new healthcare team available to help you” may be informative. It says there’s “a range of healthcare professionals at your surgery to help you get the right care when you need it. Services in general practice are being transformed to make it easier for you to access a wider range of help, further choice and more joined-up healthcare from your surgery.”
The leaflet tells us about how these new and existing roles will help you get the right care when you need it. It emphasises: “Talk to your receptionist team to find out what’s available.” The leaflet goes on to describe the roles of: Clinical Pharmacists, Physiotherapists, Paramedics, Physician Associates, Mental Health Therapists & Practitioners, Social Prescribing Link Workers, Healthcare Assistants, General Practice Nurses, Advanced Clinical Practitioners and General Practitioners (GPs). All of these people either are or will be in future, in the GP Practice teams.
But the first professionals in the leaflet and surgery are the Care Navigators/Reception Team. “Care Navigators working in practice reception teams are specially trained to know about the care and services available to you at your surgery and in your area. While the name of this role may differ in your practice, they’ll listen and talk to you in confidence about your health problem, to understand your needs so they can book you an appointment with the right healthcare professional or service. They can help you:
- Get seen as soon as possible
- Know whether self-referral is available for certain services at your practice or in your area
- Make appointments for new kinds of care or new services you may not be aware of
- Access the appropriate healthcare professional.”
They also make sure you get the right length of time for your appointment.
So please be assured that the receptionists in our new medical centre are trained professionals in their vital triage role and it will help everyone if you discuss things appropriately with them, trust them and respect them as they help navigate us through the increasingly complex NHS. That’s because there is so much delivered by today’s NHS compared to how it started in 1948.
Chair, SWF Health & Social Care Group