Herts Help Hospital and Community Navigation Service – April Briefing

If you have a problem and no one else can help…..

Luckily Hertfordshire’s equivalent to the ‘A Team’- the Herts Help Hospital and Community Navigators, are a bit easier to find !

People often tell us that it is difficult to navigate their way through so many different services, having to tell their story on several occasions and trying to work out where to go and who to see to find the help they need. The difficulties people experience can sometimes lead to deterioration in their health and a breakdown in their care. It can also cause frustration and delays too. Often people only find out about services that are available just around the corner years after they might have benefitted from them.

In Hertfordshire we’ve agreed to pool one of the largest amounts of money in the country to deliver joined up health and social care to residents. Initiatives like the Herts Help Hospital and Community Navigation service give us an even greater opportunity to work together. As well as making things easier for our patients, joining up services reduces duplication, helps professionals understand each other’s’ services better and makes much more efficient use of human and financial resources.

We are very pleased to announce the expansion of our existing Hospital Discharge and Community Navigator service across Hertfordshire. This new, countywide service has been formed from the integration of the West Herts Community Navigator Scheme, Age UK Home and Hospital support service, British Red Cross Hospital Discharge Service, Herts Help @ Home and Herts Help IDT services.

The countywide service forms two parts; both of which will help to improve people’s wellbeing, reduce social isolation, reduce home care use, ensure faster hospital discharge, whilst ensuring more appropriate use of primary care, through connecting people up with services and organisations available in their community.

There is at least one Navigator in each district , all are skilled at finding solutions to a broad range of issues, e.g. loneliness and social isolation, wellbeing, behavioural risk factors, financial issues, carers support etc.

Suzi Devanney, is a Community Navigator in Dacorum

I became a Community Navigator because I’m interested in helping people find services to help their health and wellbeing. I was also looking for a new and challenging role that gives me the opportunity to work with people directly”.

“I had a lady who was referred to me as she had the gas supply to her property condemned. She had no hot water, heating or cooking facilities at home. She did not meeting the criteria for any help with getting a new boiler through the Energy Company obligation and was struggling to cope. With support from the Citizens Advice Bureau, Herts Help and funding through the Elizabeth Finn Trust she received the help and support which she needed, and is having a new boiler installed this month. This will mean that she can be warm, able to cook and manage at home again”.

“I get immense satisfaction from helping someone to live more independently. This is done in partnership with Herts Help and great community and voluntary sector resources in Dacorum. There are some fantastic projects doing great work for the health and benefit of the community.”

“I enjoy the variation of the role; one minute I am meeting a new person who is grateful for the contact and any help that I can provide. The next minute I am helping them find transport solutions to make sure they can get to a hospital appointment or finding a social group which they can go along to meet new people and to get them out of the house”.

“Some people have been overwhelmed with all the different organisations and it’s hard for them to know who to contact and what to do. When I am able to find a solution for a given problem and the individual is happy with the resolution then I’m chuffed to bits.”

Community Navigators compliment Herts Help, Hertfordshire County Council’s telephone advice service, by taking referrals of people who would benefit from the services that Herts Help can provide, but who are unable or unlikely to access it directly.

Herts Help is a countywide single point of access to information, advice and support available through the many voluntary organisations in Hertfordshire.  The service triages clients so that they can find out about services they would never have thought to ask about. 

The service also allows busy professionals to signpost refer without having to know the detail of what may be available.

The Community Navigator Scheme is designed to help with ensuring that the community and voluntary sector are fully integrated into the developing local blueprint for services.

If someone is in need of additional support to stay healthy and independent, or needs help accessing support, they can call Herts Help on 0300 123 4044 or email hertshelp@nhs.net


People can be referred via the following methods: 

Referrals to the service can be made now. Community referrals will be triaged by Herts Help, while Hospital based referrals will be picked up directly by the teams in each of the acute hospitals, namely Watford, Lister and the Princess Alexandra.

For Community based referrals: Call Herts Help on 0300 123 4044 or email hertshelp@nhs.net

 For Hospital Based Referrals in East & North Hertfordshire: Call - 01438 285300 or 01992 585955 or email HHSS@ageukherts.org.uk

 For Hospital Based Referrals in Herts Valleys: Call 01923 436649 or 01992 585972 or Email HertfordHDS@redcross.org.uk