Care Navigation Programme

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Our Care Navigation Programme provides tailored training for your staff to signpost people to local community resources, empowering them to manage their personal needs and reducing their reliance on GPs. The three main aims of the programme are to:

  • Reduce unnecessary GP appointments
  • Increase patient wellbeing
  • Maximise resources already in the system


Our experienced team at the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) trains a range of frontline staff – including receptionists, admin staff and pharmacy assistants – to actively listen and signpost people to sources of help, advocacy and support. Patients may be signposted to local charities, social services, their local pharmacist or community services. Primary Care Navigators are also trained to help people play an active role in managing their own health.

The growth of the programme

Primary Care Navigation Programme Case Study – Old Kent Road Surgery

The NAPC has trained nearly 300 care navigators with different programmes tailored to meeting the specific needs of patients with dementia, diabetes and long term conditions. Other programmes have focused on the frail and elderly and patient wellbeing. Interest in Care Navigation training is growing as word spreads about the success of the programme and many primary care home (PCH) sites are planning to invest in developing their staff to become navigators – a recommended element of the PCH model.

About the programme

This is a bespoke programme tailored for your needs and co-designed with your team. It is often delivered over 12 months but can be shorter or longer. It usually involves four phases:

  • working with you to understand the local health and care landscape
  • facilitating sessions between health, social care and the third sector to galvanize everyone to work together in the best interest of people in the local area
  • leading and delivering the programme
  • initiating learning transfer sessions.

Delivering a range of benefits

The programme delivers benefits for patients and staff and maximises resources by:

  • Reducing unnecessary GP appointments, so allowing more time for patients who need diagnostic and complex medical care
  • Supporting and empowering patients to manage their own health and wellbeing
  • Improving staff morale and retention
  • Connecting you with other organisations and improving signposting across the whole of your local community


Here’s what some of those who’ve been through the training say about the difference it’s made:

“As primary care navigators we have been able to identify and tap into available money and resources to support people – demonstrating that despite it being a time of austerity, with a reduction in services and resources, there are resources in abundance once you start to look…and there’s also a lot of duplication.”

Who should receive the training?

We typically work with receptionists, health care assistants and pharmacy dispensers but all frontline staff can benefit from the training. You don’t need to be part of the PCH programme to benefit from the training. But what you do need, for the training to be successful, is a strong commitment to collaboration and staff development and an appetite to work and share learning with health, social care and the voluntary sector.

Why choose us?

The NAPC has delivered training programmes for GP federations, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and Health Education England, so we bring a wealth of experience and learning from across the country.

We are delivering the primary care home programme – which is at the centre of redesigning integrated care with more than 180 sites across England. The model brings together a range of health and social care professionals as a complete care community to focus on local population needs and provide care closer to patients’ homes. Our primary care navigation training is a key element of the PCH programme.

A case study – how primary care navigation helped hospital admissions fall by 80%

At the Oxford Terrace and Rawling Road Medical Group in Gateshead, two of the practice’s healthcare assistants received online training and peer support to help understand dementia and ways of providing non-medical support to patients and their carers. After undergoing the training, each healthcare assistant spent half their time acting as a navigator, helping to connect vulnerable patients with care and support in the community and providing direct, non-medical support.

They received referrals from other members of the practice and in their other role, as healthcare assistant, they identified patients who would benefit from extra help and support.

They spent time getting to know each new patient and their carers, identifying unmet needs and connecting them with sources of support. They found common issues included social isolation and inactivity and they built up an extensive knowledge of the local voluntary and community groups that could help. The navigators also acted as a first port of call for nursing homes, handling issues such as prescription and visit requests and coordination of services on discharge from hospital.

The navigators provided some direct support to patients and carers themselves through regular fortnightly phone contact or a home visit, open invitations to the surgery for a “catch up and cuppa” and regular social events bringing together people in similar circumstances.

An  evaluation by Deloitte reported that in the first three months the navigators supported the GPs at the practice with screening 117 patients for dementia, agreeing 396 care plans with patients and connecting 43 carers and 20 veterans with local services. They undertook post-discharge support, coordination of services and medication for 86 patients, removing the need for a GP appointment. Hospital admissions fell by as much as 80% for patients in contact with the navigators.