Do you know about the wide range of healthcare expertise available via your local GP practice?
Health officials in Lancashire and South Cumbria are promoting a ‘Right Person, Right Care’ campaign to raise awareness of specialist services offered by GP practices in the region.
Research by the NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria earlier this year showed an overwhelming majority of people are happy to speak to a health professional other than their GP where appropriate, but nearly half of respondents did not understand all services available to them.
Seeing another expert within general practice, where clinically appropriate, can save time by reducing the number of appointments needed to get the right care.
Some of these additional roles are included below and examples of other roles can be found on the NHS England website. Your practice reception team can advise on the services available in your area.
Reception staff are trained care navigators and ask questions about your symptoms and/or condition to ensure you get the correct, specialist care in a timely manner. This may include a referral outside of general practice where relevant, for example to a community pharmacist, who can treat minor illnesses and issue urgent supplies of prescribed medicine.
If an appointment with your GP remains the most appropriate choice for your condition, this will be arranged for you.
Advanced nurse practitioners are senior nurses who have done extra training and qualifications to be able to examine, diagnose and treat patients. They can carry out physical assessments, make a diagnosis, prescribe medications and refer for further investigations. They plan care to meet a patient's needs.
Practice nurses can assess, screen and treat people as well as offer health advice on things such as smoking cessation and weight loss. They can also treat wounds, provide vaccinations, undertake cervical smears and hold clinics for patients with long-term conditions such as asthma and diabetes.
Healthcare assistants can carry out BMI checks, vaccinations, and carry out reading such as blood pressure, temperature and pulse rate. They can also give lifestyle advice, help with health promotion programmes and assist with management of chronic disease clinics.
Social prescribing link workers provide non-clinical, emotional support, and can advice and refer patients to groups and services in the community. They can spend more time getting to know patients and can create a personalised plan responding to an individual's circumstances.
Pharmacists are experts in medicine and work closely with other healthcare professionals. They can carry out structured reviews and answer medication-related queries. They can offer longer, more in-depth appointments.
Receptionists are an important part of the practice team, helping patients get the right care in the right setting. They are trained to ensure you are signposted to the correct healthcare professional, which could be someone other than your GP. This is why they ask about your condition or symptoms.