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A Case Study

92 practices in One Care, a GP federation covering practices across Bristol, North Somerset & South Gloucestershire, January-June 2017

From a one-off stocktake …to a change in the way we work

A project funded by NHS England looked at integrating data at a practice level. The health economy across Bristol, North Somerset & South Gloucester (BNSSG) was receiving regular media attention for its financial problems as one of the 14 areas to come under NHS England’s capped expenditure process. This was a trial of a new approach to evidence-based decision-making, underpinning its plans for transforming care.

The aim was to bring together all the available information in one place, so that each practice can see how it is doing compared with its peers on indicators it feels are important. In turn, practice-level data can be aggregated to inform the conversation at a locality level, across clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and, crucially, to support the emerging sustainability and transformation plans (STPs).

More than 90 practices worked alongside the Primary Care Foundation, which carries out national policy reviews and offers practical support for practices, as well as the company Methods Analytics, which specialises in analysing and presenting complex information. The project was supported by the three BNSSG CCGs.

The practices already had a track record of working together in the One Care consortium. This was set up with funding from the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund (latterly the GP Access Fund) to create an integrated IT platform. It allows them to share notes and work more effectively across practices and with partners, including hospitals.

The project ran from January to June 2017. Easy-to-digest reports were prepared for each practice, showing where they stand compared with others against agreed measures. One Care had the ability to re-run reports each quarter with refreshed data from Methods Analytics. We developed a set of slides for each locality (groups of five to 10 practices). These were used for workshops for GPs and practice managers to explore the data and discuss how it could inform decisions about shared priorities.

These sessions looked closely at the relationship between activity and decision-making in general practice and the impact on hospital and community services. They were crucial for engaging practices in the discussion about what the data revealed and what changes might be considered. Underpinning all this was an interactive tool with the potential to be refreshed each month, held centrally at One Care. It allows any user to explore the data in greater detail with support from analysts.

In summary:

  • Funded by NHS England as a one-off exercise to improve understanding of general practice
  • One Care are a federation of over 90 practices with analytical support to extract data from practice systems
  • Easy to digest reports, combining data sets, sent to each practice to show how practice compares to others
  • Broader report prepared for workshops across groups of practices to help identify priorities across localities
  • Summary of key learning sent to STP Board to inform planning

About Us

The Primary Care Foundation supports the development of best practice in primary and urgent care. We apply our work shaping national policy to support local change. We use information to create understanding, driving improvements in care, reducing unnecessary variation across organisations and between clinicians and developing practical tools for front-line staff in general practice and urgent care.