Care navigation and triage in general practice

How to make triage work for patients

Audience: GPs
Updated: Thursday 13 April 2023
Topics: GP practices

The success of a triage system is practice dependent. The system should work for both practice staff and patients, and therefore practices may need to make reasonable adjustments to their system to ensure no patient is disadvantaged.

It should be regularly reviewed to ensure it continues to meet patient needs, functions well within the practice, and to assess any areas for improvement. The impact on patient groups who share protected characteristics, and/or who have complex needs should also be monitored to ensure the system is not creating or exacerbating access barriers.

Steps you should take

Ensure the system is inclusive and supports patients

This includes patients:

Communicate changes to the booking process to patients.

Ensuring patients understand the system and how it is intended to benefit them, can help ensure success.

Introduce mechanisms to maintain continuity of care:

Being able to see a named GP or healthcare practitioner is something that both GPs and patients value but is not always possible. Effective care navigation/triage, coupled with mechanisms for ensuring continuity for patients (particularly in practices operating a personal list system) can support better overall patient care and experience. If continuity of care is finite in capacity, practices may want to consider priorisiting certain patient groups (disabled patients, older patients, patients who need interpreters etc) as this may be of particular benefit.

Introduce a policy on DNA (Did Not Attend)

This is to manage appointment availability.