Community Health and Wellbeing Worker programme
NAPC is working with NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Northwest London and Imperial College London to pilot an innovative approach to supporting the health and wellbeing needs of families within their own homes.
The programme involves Community Health and Wellbeing Workers visiting households within defined areas and ensuring they receive tailored and holistic health and wellbeing support where needed.
The model was devised in Brazil in the 1990s where is it described as ‘the eyes and ears of the GP in the community’. Community health workers provide services to 70% of the country’s population of 200 million, and have basic training in disease identification and monitoring, immunisation, screening support and health promotion.
The approach has been hugely successful in Brazil, resulting in a 34% decline in cardiovascular disease mortality within areas that have full implemented the model.
Churchill Gardens, a large housing estate in Westminster, London, is the first location to trial the model in the UK. Specially recruited Community Health and Wellbeing Workers get to know families in their patch and assess their health, social and wellbeing needs, promote healthy living, signpost to appropriate services and make referrals to NHS services.
The Community Health and Wellbeing Workers are recruited from the local community where possible, which means they know the area well and the challenges the residents face. This helps them to build trust and rapport.
By identifying health, social and wellbeing needs early, Community Health and Wellbeing Workers have a huge potential to tackle inequalities, improve outcomes and reduce demand on NHS services.
“When we come and knock on the door and sit with you, we see the whole person and the environment they live in. We become that bridge builder.”
Comfort Idowu-Fearon, Community Health Worker at Churchill Gardens
Want to find out more?
We are looking to spread this model across other parts of the country. If you think your area may benefit from a community health and wellbeing worker programme, please get in touch. NAPC and our partners can work with you to develop the programme, including building a business case, project implementation and training workshops.
- Translating the Brazilian model of Community Health and Wellbeing Workers into primary care in the UK
Evidence of the effectiveness of the community health and wellbeing worker model
- Junghans, C., Antonacci, G., Williams, A. et al. Learning from the universal, proactive outreach of the Brazilian Community Health Worker model: impact of a Community Health and Wellbeing Worker initiative on vaccination, cancer screening and NHS health check uptake in a deprived community in the UK. BMC Health Serv Res 23, 1092 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-023-10084-8
- Matthew Harris (2012) Integrating primary care and public health: learning from the Brazilian way, London Journal of Primary Care, 4:2, 126-132, DOI: 10.1080/17571472.2012.11493350
- Hayhoe B, Cowling TE, Pillutla V, Garg P, Majeed A, Harris M. Integrating a nationally scaled workforce of community health workers in primary care: a modelling study. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 2018;111(12):453-461. doi:10.1177/0141076818803443
- Rasella D, Harhay M O, Pamponet M L, Aquino R, Barreto M L. Impact of primary health care on mortality from heart and cerebrovascular diseases in Brazil: a nationwide analysis of longitudinal data BMJ 2014; 349 :g4014 doi:10.1136/bmj.g4014
- Watt, H., Harris, M., Noyes, J. et al. Development of a composite outcome score for a complex intervention – measuring the impact of Community Health Workers. Trials 16, 107 (2015)
- Younan H-C, Junghans C, Harris M, Majeed A, Gnani S. Maximising the impact of social prescribing on population health in the era of COVID-19. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 2020;113(10):377-382. doi:10.1177/0141076820947057