What was the issue that required change?
Crail Medical Practice is in the Tollcross area of Glasgow, which is a Deep End practice – meaning it is in the top 100 most deprived practices in Scotland. Led by the practice nurse, Christine Stuart, the team wanted to offer all patients a more accessible walking group which starts at the practice and is led by practice staff. Whilst there were a number of walking groups in the area, the team were keen to help build the confidence of those who has not been physically active for some time and would not have the confidence to join outside activities. It was very important that people felt safe and the familiarity of the practice building as a starting point and the practice team as companions has been central.
How did you tackle it?
The overall aim was to engage patients who have previously had barriers to participating in regular exercise or attending groups. There were two proposed intervention models – the first of which was to set up a weekly walking group for patients. The second part of the project was to increase those attending the 12-week Live Active programme, a joint partnership between NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (NHSGGC) and Glasgow Life.
Posters were displayed to advertise the walk in the practice reception and patients were also told about the walks opportunistically at GP, nurse, healthcare assistant and pharmacist appointments. Patients were provided with a pedometer and Live Active water bottle after they had attended 3 walks. Step count was collated on a weekly basis.
What was the outcome?
There were measurable improvements in areas such as weight and blood pressure, with patient feedback being very positive. The project has brought the practice team together. The staff involved in the walking group enjoyed getting to know the patients on a more personal level and enjoyed the benefits for their own health. Patients reported increased confidence in their ability to go out a walk in their local area – something many of them had never considered doing before. The group’s successes included winning the British Heart Foundation’s “Team of the Year” award for this work and other interventions to improve the cardiovascular health of patients. Hopes for the future are to continue to recruit more patients and retain those who are already attending as well as encouraging some members of the group to undertake walk leader training.