GP practices across Kirklees are using a new signposting system to make sure their patients get the right service, first time.

Trained staff are on hand in each practice to advise patients about the most appropriate service for them.  This could be an appointment with a GP, nurse or other member of staff.  Or they may be signposted to a pharmacist, dentist or optician.  Practice staff can also provide information on how to self-refer to a range of community-based services.

Signposting also reduces the number of patients seeing a GP with problems that could be dealt with by another service, which in turn can reduce waiting times for people who really need an appointment.  Support and training has been provided to staff to help develop this signposting system across Kirklees. This has included developing knowledge, introducing new IT systems and forming stronger partnerships with other service providers.  Those providing the signposting service are not trained to offer clinical advice or triage.

Albion Mount Medical Practice in Dewsbury is one of the many practices that has introduced this system.  Karen Goodfellow, Practice Manager said: “This new system helps the reception staff to signpost patients to the most appropriate service for their needs and, in a number of cases patients may not need a GP appointment – freeing up an appointment for someone who really does need to see a GP”.

Sue Johnson, HR and Patient Services Manager at Elmwood Family Doctors in Holmfirth said: “We’ve received a very positive response from our patients who have been able to access alternative services, more suitable for their needs, in the local community – often without having to book.”

With demand for primary care services increasing, all GP practices in England have been asked to look at how they can make better use of the wider healthcare workforce, free up GP time, and reduce waiting times for patients.

Photo caption: Sarah Haigh, part of the reception team at Albion Mount Medical Practice.