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.

5. Method

A Steering Group with membership from relevant organisations was formed, chaired by Frank Strang, Deputy Director of Primary Care, Scottish Government. (See Appendix 1) It was agreed to fund six primary care teams £7,500 each for six months and £4,000 for a Clinical Lead role. The purpose of the fund was to protect time for teams to make links with community resources and to examine their attitude to using community resources. The original group of practices were working in areas of deprivation in Glasgow and were recruited through the GPs at the Deep End initiative.7

Eleven practices were interested in participating, and six were picked from the hat. A Clinical Lead was chosen, a General Practitioner with responsibility for organising local practices, ensuring data was gathered and reporting to the Steering Group. This role was critical in connecting practices and providing a link to Scottish Government.

Participating General Practices (Glasgow)

General Practice List
Pollock Health Centre, Drs Boyle, Treadgold, Duffy & Morley 2,966
Gilbertfield Medical Centre, Dr Alison McBeth & Partners 4,988
Whitevale Medical Group, Dr Roger Black and Partners 5,563
Easterhouse Health Centre, Dr Wilson, McGinley & Sheppard 2430
Bridgeton Health Centre, Dr Robert Jamieson & Dr Elizabeth Day 2,646
Drumchapel Medical Centre, Dr Nugent and Partners 5,313

Such was the interest that at a later date four primary care teams from Fife joined the project, their inclusion offered an opportunity to run the project in different areas of Fife, with contrasting practice profiles. (Findings for Glasgow and Fife are reported separately).

Participating General Practices (Fife)

General Practice List
Inverkeithing Medical Group Practice 18,500
Dr Ross and Partners, Leven 3,165
Feddinch Practice, St. Andrews 8,891
Newburgh and Abernethy Practice 3,865

Practice teams were assisted by the LTCC to use improvement methodology to identify and test their improvements and share learning. The following data gathering tools were selected:

1. Practice team questionnaire - to capture:

  • knowledge and understanding of current processes to signpost to community resources
  • individual staff knowledge of services and confidence to signpost

2. Baseline Survey - used in 50 consecutive consultations for each practitioner on 3 single days in December, January and February to identify:

  • patients identified as being suitable for signposting to community resources
  • types of resource
  • if staff signpost / recommend a resource
  • community resources in highest demand

3. Longitudinal Survey - to capture:

  • individuals signposted to a community resource during a 5 day and 3 day period

4. Patient Follow Up - there were follow up surveys to ask some patients of those on the longitudinal list:

  • if patients had accessed the community resource and their experience of the service
  • were still in contact with resource 4 - 6 weeks after signposting

Practices developed different methods for compiling a Practice Directory of Community Resources.

They used PDSA (Plan Do Study Act) - a cycle of quality improvement designed to encourage incremental change. Practices agreed to complete three PDSAs on a monthly basis. (Appendix 2)

They also produced Case Studies using video and meeting notes to collect and share feedback from staff.


Email: Tim Warren

Back to top