Lancashire and South Cumbria campaign highlights services and expertise in general practice

Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB has launched a new campaign to raise awareness of the range of services and healthcare expertise available via local GP practices.

The “Right Person, Right Care” campaign was inspired by research from the region which showed that “an overwhelming majority” of people would be “happy to speak to a health professional other than their GP where appropriate”, but that “nearly half of respondents did not understand all services available to them”.

In order to save time by reducing the number of appointments required before a patient can access the right care, receptionists at practices also have a role as trained care navigators to ask patients questions about their symptoms and/or condition to ensure they are directed to the correct, specialist care “in a timely manner”.

Where appropriate, this may include referral outside of the practice, including to a community pharmacist, enabling the treatment of minor illnesses or urgent supply of prescribed medicines.

Dr Lindsey Dickinson, a GP in Chorley and associate medical director for NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB, said: “Where a typical GP appointment may last around 12 minutes, our other healthcare professionals often have more time to assess, diagnose and treat your condition. We also have social prescribing link workers who are not clinical but spend time getting to know patients on a personal level and direct them to appropriate services in the community.”

To support the campaign, informational material featuring different healthcare professionals and their roles has been shared across the ICB’s website.

Earlier this year, we spoke with Christopher Lees, operations learning development manager for the Greater Manchester Training Hub (GMTH), on leadership and education in primary care. Chris highlighted the need to develop the skills of the front of house team, because “they’re often the people communicating directly with patients and are the people who run the risk of getting the brunt of any possible anger or frustration”.