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Receptionists taking on link work roles – but without training

by in GP Practice Management, News

Many practices are using untrained reception staff as so-called “care navigators” to direct patients to community activities, according to a new study.

Schemes are running in most parts of the country but the way it is done is very “variable,” according to a report in the British Journal of General Practice. The NHS has announced plans to train 1,000 link workers by 2021, acting as so-called care navigators.

In the latest study researchers at Oxford University questioned clinical commissioning groups about progress in signposting. They conclude that much of the sign-posting to community activities is being done by reception staff, “often” without specific training.

The researchers call for clear guidance and training for the new roles.

Researcher Stephanie Tierney said: “Our research highlights the diverse ways in which care navigator type roles (including link workers) have been implemented across England. This may be confusing for patients and healthcare professionals who refer to such services in terms of what this position aims to address, for whom and how.

“Without greater clarity, the acceptance and uptake of such services by key stakeholders could be hindered.”

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