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Care Navigation - due to start Autumn 2017

Cheltenham practices are working together with local pharmacies, physiotherapists and other services to try and ensure that patients get the right advice and treatment within an appropriate time.

What is Care Navigation / Active Signposting?

Ringing the GP practice for an appointment can sometimes seem a ‘lottery’. Sometimes though, the GP isn’t really the best person to see. Patients could be seen and treated quicker by a nurse or a physiotherapist for example and in some cases, the GP practice might not be the right place at all for the query. That's where 'active signposting' or care navigation as we call it comes in.

When you phone your surgery you may hear the following message. “Hello my name is Dr ….. and I am the senior partner. You will shortly be put through to the reception staff. We have asked the receptionist to ask you if you wouldn’t mind telling them a little about the problem you are calling about today. This is simply so they can direct you to the person who would be most suitable to help you with your problem. Of course, you don’t have to do this, but it would help us to help you and other patients. Thank you very much”.

Care navigators are receptionists and admin staff but through specialist training, they also possess additional skills and provide a crucial practice role in improving access to primary care. All with the aim of helping patients to get to the right service faster.

After briefly assessing your problem the receptionist may suggest a referral to on of the following options:

Pharmacy Minor Ailments Scheme

Patients suffering from any of the conditions listed below may be referred in to the scheme for advice and treatment . Please note that if the pharmacist is not able to help you will be fast tracked back to your GP surgery for formal medical advice.

•Acute Pain/Earache/Headache/Temperature •Athlete’s Foot •Bites and Stings •Colds/Flu-like symptoms/Nasal Congestion •Cold Sores •Conjunctivitis (acute bacterial) •Constipation (acute) •Cough •Cystitis •Dermatitis/Dry Skin/Allergic Type Skin Rash •Diarrhoea •Hay Fever (Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis) •Head Lice •Haemorrhoids •Heartburn/Indigestion •Infant Colic •Mouth Ulcers •Nappy Rash •Oral Thrush •Scabies •Sore Throat •Sprains and Strains •Teething •Threadworms •Vaginal Thrush

Practice Nurse

Many Practice Nurses can now can assess patients with acute medical problems and in addition they can prescribe medications such as antibiotics and pain relief.

Practice Pharmacists

Practice Pharmacists can also assess patients with minor ailments but in addition they can give advice and amend prescriptions.


Most injuries get better without medical intervention. It is often better to consult a physiotherapist before seeing a doctor:

In order to contact a physiotherapist the receptionist might give you the Physio Direct telephone number or ask you to complete and submit this form:


Opticians can see patients with:

  • Flashes and floaters
  • Red eyes

An extended hours GP surgery e.g. Choice Plus

Cheltenham GPs offer appointments after 18:30 in the evening and at weekends. You may be offered an appointment at a different surgery later in the evening, the next day or even at the weekend