Health Champions working collaboratively in Primary Care
13 May 2019

In June 2018, work began with six GP practices in Tameside, and an aligned programme began in Glossop, managed by The Bureau.

Each practice now has an established team of volunteer health champions who support the practice, patients and community. Practices were supported using Altogether Betters model of Collaborative Practice and the ICFT, P&CCA team. Through the collaboration between local people and staff, practices gain an insight into their practice, patients and communities and new, improved offers are developed. 

Activities aim to improve appointment behaviour (frequent attenders, missed appointments, screening uptakes) improve patient experience (work around communications, waiting room support) and tackle wider determinants of health (motivational peer support groups, waiting room tai chi, walking groups, pain management support).  Other challenges can also be tackled through this work, for example, managing a merger or raising awareness of a health issue prevalent in the community.  This work dovetails with and amplifies social prescribing and asset based community development, often informally connecting patients to their communities and bringing a community spirit into the GP practice.

Case Story – Hattersley Health Champions, Parkinson's Café Launch, April 2019

“A couple of weeks ago Hattersley made the news when some kids from the estate "vandals" attacked a bus. The bus drivers refused to even drive into Hattersley and bus services were suspended. Yesterday, Hattersley made the news through our Parkinson's Cafe. On World Parkinson's Day, we attracted Parkinson's patients from not only Hattersley, but across the region.

We had around 50 people turn up, at least 20 Parkinson's patients, their carers and support staff - plus numerous health workers/charity staff, from Parkinson's UK, an NHS Parkinson’s Nurse and her team, Be Well, Dr Hershon, practice staff and of course champions. In the build-up we had delivered 700 leaflets to 24 practices in Tameside & Glossop, plus some to Community Wellbeing, Denton Parkinson's Group and the Bureau (in Glossop). We also contacted local radio and press.

A fellow Champion, Edwin Crump, wanted this event to happen because "he'd only ever met one other Parkinson's patient, and they'd died". He wanted to meet others, talk to them, understand their experiences and create a friendship group. The Champions made this happen, and we now have our next cafe meet planned for in May.

Another Hattersley patient with Parkinson's, is wheelchair-bound and hardly ever gets out of the house. He didn't actually quite make it to the meeting - events conspired against him - he got as far as to the crossroads outside the meeting venue just as we were packing up. His experience with the kids on the estate - they'd helped him when his electric wheelchair got stuck.”

The Parkinson's Café launch was featured on ‘That’s Manchester’ news channel.  Watch the video here: