The following information outlines staff roles and responsibilities in primary care:
A Care Navigator is a key practice member and the first port of call for many patients. A Care navigator is a GP practice staff member who has been given specialist training to help them to support patients to access the right care from the right place at the right time. When patients contact their general practice, the care navigator will ask a few simple questions to identify which healthcare professional or service they need to see.
There are a lot of changes happening in primary care, for both the staff and patients to know about. It is important that staff feel confident when helping patients navigate the changes, by being able to inform them about different ways to access appointments, and with different clinicians.
Care Navigators support patients, for example if the appointment is at another practice they explain the changes and benefits, and this can have a big impact on that patient’s experience.
As a key practice member and the first port of call for many patients care navigators will need to familiarise themselves with the new roles, new ways to access appointments and the details of extended access that exist in our practices.
Working closely with the patient and their Clinician or other healthcare professional, they co-ordinate patients’ healthcare and direct them to the appropriate service to ensure that they get the most suitable care from whatever health or social care provider is appropriate.
They are qualified experts in medicines and can help support people in a range of ways. They work as part of the practice team to resolve day-to-day medicine issues and consult with and advise patients about their medicines directly. They ensure that the medications prescribed for patients contribute to the best possible health outcomes.
A Clinical Pharmacist can:
- Undertake structured medication reviews for patients with ongoing health problems, therefore improving patient safety.
- With additional training and supervision they can also consult with patients to diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe and refer onwards as appropriate.
- Provide advice for those on multiple medicines and better access to health checks
Diabetes Nurse Specialist
Diabetes Specialist Nurses work with patients with type 1 or 2 diabetes, aiming to improve outcomes for patients, including promoting self-care management.
First Contact Physio – coming soon
Patients with back and joint pain, including conditions such as arthritis, will be able to contact their local physiotherapist directly, rather than waiting to see a GP or being referred to hospital. Patients can also see a physiotherapist by speaking to the GP practice receptionist or by being referred by their GP.
They can help patients with musculoskeletal issues such as back, neck and joint pain by:
- assessing and diagnosing issues
- giving expert advice on how best to manage their conditions
- referring them onto specialist services if necessary
Health & Wellbeing Coach
The health and wellbeing coach will support people with lower levels of patient activation to develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to manage their health and wellbeing. They will contribute to increasing patient’s physical activity levels, improving diet, and making long-term lifestyle changes.
They will increase patient ability to access and utilise community support whilst providing access to self-management education, peer support and social prescribing.
Health and wellbeing coaches take an approach that considers the ‘whole person’ in addressing existing issues and encourages proactive prevention of new illnesses.
Healthy Ageing Co-ordinator
Healthy Ageing Co-ordinators are employed by the Primary Care Networks and help support mild and moderate frail patients in primary care.
They have additional training to commence the screening and early identification of health and social needs.
The co-ordinators will review medical records in EMIS, and call patients using a telephone triage that has been developed in conjunction with the frailty leads across the city. Based upon patients’ needs, the co-ordinators will instigate any care / support / referrals that are required, such as referring through Social Prescribers, Fire Service for a Safe and Well check, Falls Prevention Team, Carer support team and many other services. They will provide proactive case management, support and care planning including documented care plans.
There are currently 3 co-ordinators working across 3 of the networks, with another coordinator spending time in the Hospital Emergency Department, supporting the acute frailty team, and also within primary care.
Nursing Roles In Primary Care
Nurses within General Practice provide care and treatment for patients and increasingly work in partnership with people with acute illness and with complex conditions.
Different roles include general practice nurses, health care assistants, advanced nurse practitioners and nurse prescribers. General Practice nurses have an essential role to play in delivering care through general practice.
They may work alongside other healthcare professionals including doctors, health visitors, pharmacists and dietitians.
You can see a Nurse for a range of symptoms including (but not limited to):
- Health Screening
- Wound management
- Childhood and Travel Vaccines
- Long Term Condition reviews such as diabetes, asthma and heart conditions
Physician Associates (PA) support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients. They are trained to perform a number of roles including:
- taking medical histories
- performing examinations
- analysing test results
- Diagnosing illnesses under the direct supervision of a doctor.
- Potential prescribing in the future
A Physician Associate can:
- Visit patients in hospital or at home
- Perform examinations and administer some treatments
- Requesting diagnostic studies to be completed
Social Prescribers are part of the MDT teams, and a core member of the Primary Care Team. They see and support patients with non-clinical needs. They provide an independent and impartial service to primary care, and focus on the whole person’s needs. They are able to spend time with people, actively listening to their needs and aspirations. They are skilled using tools and solutions focused, motivational interviewing and mentoring.
Social Prescribers can support with:
Keeping people safe:
- Domestic violence and safeguarding
- Basic needs,adequate heating, fire safety check, resolving housing issues
- Navigating the health and social systems
- Form filling eg hardship funds, welfare grants, benefits etc.
Keeping people connected and active:
- Keeping people connected in communities
- supporting people with loneliness and solation
- volunteering peer to peer support
- getting people into employment
- carer support