Primary Care Navigators (PCNs) for Dementia


The National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) and Health Education England (HEE) has joined forces to create and deliver a new "Primary Care Navigators for Dementia" training programme. The role is intended to provide support for those people who are both pre- and post- diagnosis. The Primary Care Navigator is trained to listen and guide people to the help and resources they need, from local to national services. 


20 Pharmacies and 20 GP Practices agreed to take part by nominating one or two non-clinical staff to train as a PCN. In addition a nominated Supervisor would support the new role.

PCNs were requested to commit to completing the training and use the role to improve patient and carer experience. 

Supervisors were requested to commit to help raise awareness of the PCN role and provide an environment where the trainees could flourish, learn and gain confidence in working with other professionals as well as patient and carers.


The pilot was initiated in six areas:

  • North East
  • North West
  • Midlands
  • London
  • South East
  • South West


The training consisted of three elements:

  1. E-learning modules
  2. An interactive training day
  3. Continued support through mentoring


In order to measure the effectiveness of the training and implementation, we selected three areas of baseline measures, requesting feedback from patient and carers, the PCNs and Practices. These questions were then revisited at the end of the pilot to guage the impact of the role. This was supported by further qualitative data drawing on what helped and what hindered the execution of the role.


The learning and feedback is one of the major successes of this project as highlighted in the end of project report submitted to Health Education England. Download the End of Project Executive Summary.

"Where there has been full engagement from senior management n a day to day basis, the Navigator role has been fully integrated into Practice/Pharmacy policies, systems and services. This in turn has had a positive effect on engagement with patients and carers dealing with dementias, improving both patient and practice outcomes."

Paul Springer Project Lead NAPC 


An independent evaluation of the project was carried out by Deloitte. Publication due June 2015.


"Both case examples share the view that PCN training should represent part of a wider staff training and development programme, aimed at improving the ability of the staff to provide better support to a wider range of vulnerable people. A result of the PCN training has been:

  • Improved staff engagement with patients and carers. Feedback collected in both cases shows improvement in patient and practice outcomes;
  • Improved staff satisfaction. Staff at both sites have highlighted an improvement in their job satisfaction. Further the PCN role has a potential impact on other staff, with successful implementation having the potential to relieve some of the increasing pressures on GP practices."