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Care Navigation Programme

(6.5 hours Learning Time)


We aim to show Care Navigators and other first point of contact staff, the benefits of initially ‘probing’ to identify the reason for the request for an appointment or call back. Many appointments or call backs (telephone triage/consultations) are given to patients who do not require either a face to face consultation, contact with a clinician, or with the wrong health care professional. True Care Navigation encourages non-clinical staff to determine what is best for the patient, using good communication skills and engagement to ensure callers are satisfied with the solution offered by the Care Navigator. This may include signposting outside the service or management of the request by a non-clinical member of staff. If probing is done effectively, it can result in a huge proportion of appointments requested being diverted elsewhere.

If face to face consultation or call back is required, it is then important that the Care Navigator is able to determine the urgency to help prioritise the patient and navigate to the right level of care to help facilitate the right outcome for patients.

Up to a third of calls into a surgery can be handled by the Care Navigator, so their role is vital in managing the system, but how they ask for the information is key to a successful outcome. The ability and skills needed to communicate effectively on the phone are often underestimated. Rapport, trust and confidence, linked with an ability to sympathise and understand the context for the patient, will increase the ability to arrive at a mutually agreeable outcome. Good customer care skills are increasingly recognised as being of critical importance amongst all staff that interact with the public, especially when dealing with difficult or demanding callers.

The training will provide delegates with the skills and understanding required to communicate effectively; to deliver excellent customer care and to provide information on how to deal with those patients who can be difficult, demanding or frequent service users.

The sessions will include experiential learning through participative activities to demonstrate how and when to use the skills and strategies discussed, group exercises, quizzes and discussion. Please note we do not use role play, as this has been found to be too unsettling for staff who are not used to this method of training.

The training is divided into two Levels. Level 1 is 3.5 hours long, whilst Level 2 is 3 hours long. It is advised that Level 1 and Level 2 are delivered on separate days to allow the delegates to consolidate the learning from Level 1 before undertaking the exercises in Level 2. It also means they are often more involved in the development of any additional protocols which may be required prior to implementing any system changes.

If multiple sessions are being arranged, we would encourage two sessions per day; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. This also allows more choice when trying to accommodate part time staff.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the changing role of the Receptionist to Care Navigators and why this is needed
  • Understand the differences between face to face and telephone communication
  • Understand what is needed for effective communication over the phone
  • Explore the importance of the initial ‘probing’ to facilitate accurate sign posting and prioritisation
  • How to identify and overcome some of the barriers to communication
  • Understand what active listening is and what this can achieve
  • Learn how to identify different behaviours and how to manage them
  • Signposting and what this means
  • Prioritisation and what this means
  • Examine a call process to facilitate best practice
  • Understand what safety netting is required by Care Navigators
  • Managing telephone emergencies

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Do you have specific requirements?

If you would like to discuss your specific training requirements, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  We have delivered training across the UK and abroad, to all kinds of different healthcare organisations and groups.