GP practices in Redditch are launching a new scheme to help patients to see the most appropriate person when they make an appointment, without needing to see a GP.

The Healthcare Navigator Scheme will be launched on November 1, and will see GP practice staff across the borough trained to provide a greater role in signposting patients when they call up.

Local GP Sally Hetherington said: "We are working hard to make sure that when people need to see a GP, they have access to one quickly and in a way that suits them, be that in person or over the phone.

"We know that sometimes patients find navigating health services difficult and in some cases the GP practice might not even be the right place for the query.

"Sometimes patients could be seen and treated quicker by a nurse or a pharmacist for example. It’s about giving patients choice, supporting and guiding them with the right information.

"Also utilising the skills of other professionals who have the expertise to deal with the problem - often quicker and without the need to see the GP.”

Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group has organised the scheme in response to patient survey feedback from earlier this year.

Patients will notice that healthcare navigators will ask for more information about the difficulties they have been facing, but are reassured that staff are bound by confidentiality agreements.

GP staff have already received training from Birmingham City University, including online learning and face-to-face sessions.

Practices across Worcestershire are now looking to implement a similar scheme.