In Wakefield, we define Care Navigation as "a person-centred approach that uses signposting and information to help primary care patients and their carers move through the health and social care system, as smoothly as possible, to ensure that unmet needs are met.”
Originally established in Wakefield by West Wakefield Health & Wellbeing Limited, as a Multispecialty Community Provider (MCP) pilot vanguard site, Care Navigation was rolled out district-wide by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and is now delivered by Conexus Healthcare under the Connecting Care+ programme.
Care Navigation utilises trained frontline GP practice staff, known as Care Navigators, to provide patients with more information about local health and wellbeing services, both inside and outside of primary care.
Care Navigation focuses on providing the patient with ‘choice not triage’ to access the most appropriate service first. Other health and social care professionals may offer more appropriate and specialised support, which overall ensures that patients receive the right care quicker. As a result, this frees up GP appointments for other patients.
Currently there are 26 GP practices across Wakefield supporting the programme, with 260 trained Care Navigators. From April 2017 to March 2018, over 22,600 patients accepted navigations through the service, overall ensuring more GP appointments were available for patients who required GP support.
Wakefield has further seen improved patient outcomes, as highlighted by the published Healthwatch report, where 97% of patients surveyed stated they were happy to see the alternative healthcare professional they were signposted to. Patients’ feedback further included: “Care Navigation is a good idea. I didn’t have to wait for a GP appointment.”
For more information on Care Navigation, please visit the Conexus Healthcare website: conexus-healthcare.org
A Case Study of Care Navigation in Action
Melanie Crew, Care Navigator at Chapelthorpe Medical Centre said: “We had a patient who used to call the practice repeatedly and request home visits from a GP. After speaking to the patient and asking for a little bit more information as to why he required a home visit, it became apparent that the patient’s wife had recently moved into a care home, and he was struggling to manage the financial implications of this, alongside the fact he was feeling socially isolated.
“I chose to refer the gentleman to the Live Well Wakefield Service, who offered him social prescribing amongst many other services including financial advice. Since the navigation, we have not heard from the patient, and are confident he is receiving the correct care he requires.”