Deep End practice wins RCGP Practice Team of the Year 2017

Photo of RCGP practice team of the year award 2017‌Staff at the David Elder Medical Practice - based in Glasgow's Govan Health Centre and one of 100 Deep End practices that serve communities in the most deprived areas of Scotland - have been awarded RCGP Scotland's prestigious Practice Team of the Year award, which recognises the outstanding work of practice teams in Scotland and is given to a practice which has introduced an activity to improve patient care. 

Describing the important initiative that led to the David Elder team's receipt of this award, RCGP Scotland's Dr Ken McLean said:

Over the past two years, the David Elder Practice has been one of the lead practices in the development of the Govan SHIP Project (Govan Social and Health Integration Partnership), which emphasises extended multidisciplinary team working and the targeting of resources towards the most vulnerable patients. 

As a Deep End practice, they knew that they were faced with increasing incidence of early onset multi-morbidity in their patients who often have complex social needs, so they looked to see if integration between health and social care could occur successfully within the general practice setting and go some way to addressing the Inverse Care Law. 

The lead clinician, Dr John Montgomery, approached the Community Health Partnership Director, the Director of Social Work and academic GPs to collaborate on a proposal which was subsequently endorsed by the Scottish Government. This cooperation of different specialties resulted in a remit greatly expanded from just integration with social work alone to encompass a much wider range of disciplines working together. 

‌The project has developed along several lines. They have now established monthly, two-hour, multi-disciplinary team meetings at which vulnerable patients are discussed, and a shared management plan arrived at. Attendees include two aligned social workers, one covering vulnerable children and families and one for adult services. If appropriate, an electronic key information summary is constructed and subsequently discussed with the patient and, when relevant, their families, ensuring that everyone involved in the care of the patient is aware of the agreed management plan and the patient's wishes. 

‌‌Through locum backfill, the practice has been able to provide more time for face to face contact with their most vulnerable patients and also to develop links with other disciplines such as emergency medicine, physiotherapy and house associations. These locums report the practice to be a challenging but enjoyable place to work. 

The addition of a Links Worker to the team has proved to be an effective means of engaging the voluntary and third sectors. Many of the reception staff live within the practice area and know the patients personally. Patients will occasionally feel more comfortable divulging social issues to the reception staff which they might otherwise discuss with clinical staff. The receptionist can direct them to the Links Worker with significant patient benefit. 

The sharing of information has been important, but equally so has the development of personal cross-disciplinary relationships - all of which makes the David Elder Medical Practice in Glasgow the RCGP Scotland Practice of the Year. 

Photo of RCGP practice team of the year award 2017The awards ceremony took place on 09 March 2018 at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, and the presentation was made by Gregor Smith, Deputy CMO and Carey Lunan, RCGP Scotland Chair and also a fellow Deep Ender. Five members of the practice team attended, further highlighting the multi disciplinary nature of SHIP.

This is the second year running that a Deep End practice has won this award. In 2016, Dr Peter Cawston and colleagues from the Garscadden Burn Medical Practice in Drumchapel received the award for their social prescribing and community networking projects.

Read more about this story in Dr Carey Lunan's (RCGP Scotland Chair) blog