Links Project Report:developing the connections between general practices and their communities

The Links Project was established between October 2010 and May 2011. Staff in ten Scottish General Practices explored connections with their communities. Six of the practices were in areas of deprivation in Glasgow and four in different areas of Fife.

Feedback from groups - key points

Groups were formed to explore 3 themes:

  • Implications for practice teams
  • Levers and Motivators
  • Developing Links Project - next steps

Implications for practice teams

  • Relationships- careful thought needed about practice roles and responsibilities
  • Value of being aware of local resources needs to be in team consciousness
  • Need for a champion to maintain and update information
  • The whole team must be involved
  • Need for a link worker
  • Not necessary for GP to lead this work
  • Receptionists and practice nurses have important role in signposting
  • The Links Project should be on practice agendas
  • Find ways to share knowledge, use local knowledge of staff

Levers and Motivators

  • Collect evidence on benefits for patients
  • Comparative data - collect data about rates of signposting between practices
  • Incentivise - use the GP contract to introduce ideas about practices connecting in communities and drop other aspects of QOF (use the LES?)
  • Collect evidence on practical benefits for practices and communities groups
  • Reshaping Care for Older People and the Change Fund

Developing Links Project - next steps?

  • Yes, the project should be further developed, there was a lot to learn
  • Idea of a links worker should be further explored. This role might be particularly pertinent for deprived areas, though may have less value in more affluent areas
  • Primary care will be useful place to extend the Links Project
  • Developments in Reshaping Care / Change Fund are consistent and complimentary, important to make connection with this work
  • Service design element to future work will be useful
  • Any further work should be robustly evaluated
  • Any new work should pay attention to the agile processes used in the Links Project and the value of having strong local leadership


Email: Tim Warren

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