Extended healthcare teams are now supporting patients in GP practices across the Black Country.
With demand on primary care increasing, GP practices are working differently to offer more appointments for their patients.
In the Black Country, 609,044 appointments took place in June 2023, which is 43,000 more appointments than in May 2023 and 73,000 more appointments compared to June 2022. To help manage this demand on services, local GP practice teams now include a range of healthcare professionals who are highly skilled and knowledgeable in the areas they specialise in and can diagnose and treat a variety of health conditions.
The different healthcare professionals that make up extended healthcare teams includes:
- General practice nurses and nurse practitioners
- Healthcare assistants
- Physician associates
- GP registrars
- Practice based pharmacists
- Health and wellbeing coaches
- Social prescribing link workers
- Mental health practitioners.
All appointments are triaged to ensure patients are directed to the right professional. This means when patients contact the practice, a care navigator will ask for a brief outline of the problem. You may be asked questions when you contact the GP, this is so the teams can ensure you see the right professional.
Where appropriate, care navigators will direct patients to another service such as a pharmacy or optician.