Practices, with the support of the Community Links Practitioner, are developing a business plan that aims to help the entire practice team to adopt a Links approach. This business plan follows a model of improvement and identifies 7 capacities that the practice need in order to be able to work more closely with their local community resources. The 7 capacities are:
1) Team Wellbeing
A primary care team that’s in survival mode, or feels overwhelmed by demands cannot effectively offer patients support. The business plan must demonstrate how the team plans to support staff wellbeing and create an environment where there is enough time for staff to listen and advise people.
2) Shared learning
GP practices need to have protected time for shared learning, access to educational resources and the opportunity to share stories.
Staff need to be able to identify people who would benefit from information or support, to have a wider understanding of the social context of illness.
Practices need to be able to gather information, to curate that information and have efficient and accessible processes for people to receive this information. ALISS will play a key role in meeting this need.
Practices need to be able to routinely proved information about local support to people.
6) Problem Solving
Links Practitioners have capacity to work with people to identify and solve problems.
7) Network building
Primary care teams need to develop an extensive network of personal relationships in their local community.
In order to augment these capacities, practices are able to apply for a development grant of up to £35,000. The business plan sets out how the practice will use this money to augment these capacities and progress will be monitored through the Plan, Do, Study, Act methodology.
Local solutions to Local Problems
The programme recognises that there are local solutions to local problems and to this end practices have not been limited to how they allocate the fund. Each of the 7 practices has proposed different solutions and plans, and this is a unique strength of the programme.
How will this benefit the practice population?
Along with adopting the Links approach that will benefit the entire practice population, the practices will focus on 5 themes taken from the Self Management Strategy for Scotland:
- Adapting to diagnosis
- Living well day to day
- Facing challenges and crises
- Navigating systems
- Dying well
By focusing on these 5 areas, and improving or further developing the practices process in order to support people experiencing these issues, we hope to robustly demonstrate the impact of the approach when compared to the comparison practices. Practices are currently agreeing which aspects to focus on under each of these headings.