Prevention best way to reduce NHS demand

Growing pressure on NHS services could be eased if the ‘new mindset and new skillset’ of health coaching was more widely adopted across patient care. This was the prevalent point debated by a panel of esteemed healthcare professionals during Connect Health’s latest Change event, ‘Can health coaching reduce primary care pressure and improve patient outcomes?

At an event, hosted by Connect Health, earlier this year, strategies for reducing demand on the NHS were high on the agenda. The event chair, Richard Pell, Flippin’ Pain campaign director, at Connect Health, introduced the session, outlining data from the British Medical Association showing the current challenges facing primary care, exacerbated by declining GP numbers and recruitment and retention issues.

“There is now the equivalent of 2,000+ fewer qualified full-time GPs compared to 2015, despite practices delivering 29.6 million appointments in January alone – with seven in 10 of those being face-to-face,” Richard explained. “It is recognised that health coaching has the potential to reduce demand on primary care; supportive selfmanagement intervention can guide and prompt people to change their thoughts and behaviour, so they can make healthcare choices based on what matters to them

“Health coaches aim to develop people’s motivation, knowledge, skills and confidence around a variety of issues and conditions, including weight, diet, mood and persistent pain.They support people to become more active in the management of their own health and care.”

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