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Healthy South Wirral (HSW) and Healthier West Wirral (HWW) are the first local Primary Care Networks (PCNs) to offer patients lifestyle support through the new Health Coach role.
Primary Care Wirral (PCW) has organised recruitment for this new position and the selected candidates will work as part of their network’s multidisciplinary teams.
This is a is a shared role which will serve all GP surgeries within the PCNs, with referrals being organised by the practices healthcare staff or directly by patients who would like to self-refer.
Improving health by improving people’s lifestyles
Health Coaches will support patients with low levels of physical activation, by helping them develop the resources and confidence needed to manage their health and wellbeing.
The core aims of this role involve increasing patients physical activity levels, improving their diet and facilitating long-term changes.
In practical terms, this translates into producing personalised health and care plans for individuals, based on an initial assessment of their current fitness levels and lifestyle choices.
Coaches will motivate patients to complete the programmes and empower them to live independently by taking more control in managing their own health and wellbeing.
Although physical activity and healthy eating advice are core activities, coaches will also work in coordination with a team of Wellbeing Practitioners to connect patients to community-based activities which can benefit them mentally and physically.
Preparing for the future
As established in the new DES contract, Health Coach is one of the 10 additional roles PCNs can employ to work as part of their cross-practice multidisciplinary teams.
With declining low levels of physical activity across the UK, the new role can play a key role in encouraging more active communities.
Source: Health matters: getting every adult active every day, PHE (July 2016)
In an effort to provide patients with a more holistic approach to care, HWW has chosen to implement this position “because of the positive impact we expect it to have over our increasingly older population”, said Helen Kini GP partner at Upton Group Practice.
“Facilitating access to non-clinical forms of care is key to create more resilient communities and reduce work pressures among clinical teams.
“Our objective is to move patients away from traditional clinical care when changes in their current lifestyle will have a stronger and lasting impact on their mental and physical health.
“We expect to see a higher proportion of older patients in the coming years, and in this context promoting healthy habits and more active communities is paramount.”
With population projections in Wirral indicating a substantial 30% increase of the older population by 2030, “preparing plans to help people stay healthy and live independently for longer has become more important than ever”, said Lucy Holmes, PCW’s Social Prescribing Operations Manager.
“This new role will enable every patient in South and West Wirral to access additional non-medical support to enhance their health via lifestyle changes.
“Health Coaches will not only reduce their risk of developing long-term conditions but will also improve their ability to manage current conditions better.”
Support available for all PCNs
As part of our federation’s strategy to support practices in their transition to GP networks, PCW is currently providing network support to any local PCNs that need help in recruitment or management of their services.
We are looking forward to seeing how the new Health Coach role helps strengthen the multidisciplinary teams at HSW and HWW.
If you think your PCN could benefit from implementing this new role, contact us to find out how we can help.
The practices currently benefiting from this service are:
Healthier South Wirral GP Network:
Civic Medical Centre
The Orchard Surgery
Eastham Group Practice
Parkfield Medical Centre
Sunlight Group Practice
Healthier West Wirral GP Network:
Commonfield Road Medical Centre
Greasby Health Centre
Heswall and Pensby Group Practice
Marine Lake Medical Practice
TG Medical Centre
West Wirral Group Practice
Upton Group Practice