Community Health and Wellbeing Worker programme
NAPC is working with Applied Research and Collaboration North West London (NIHR) 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 model 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, and are a familiar face helping to build trust and rapport.
By identifying health, social and wellbeing needs early, community health 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.