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Background
 

Evidence shows that those in the most deprived areas of the UK are at greatest risk of poorer health outcomes. There are many drivers behind this pattern:


•    People with lower income may work longer hours or multiple jobs, giving them less time to attend check-ups or seek health advice. 
•    Those for whom English is not their first language may not be aware of the availability of cancer screenings, health checks, or other public health initiatives. 
•    It could also be that the environment itself is playing a part, for example if houses and apartments are not well maintained.

Whatever the reason, the NHS urgently needs new cost-effective ideas that can address improve public health within more deprived areas.

One such idea, taken from the streets of Brazil, is improving the health and wellbeing of residents of Churchill Gardens - one of the most deprived communities in London.

The scheme involves Community Health and Wellbeing Workers (CHWWs) visiting families in their own homes and providing health and well-being advice. This includes connecting them with NHS services and other support in the community. The CHWWs are part of the local community and able to communicate in a variety of languages. They have built trust with the local community, which is crucial to the project.

Analysis of the first year of the project shows remarkable results. Health initiatives such as cancer screenings and vaccinations, were 40% higher in households that had received at least one visit by the CHWWs, compared to those who hadn’t. Looking specifically at cancer screenings and NHS Health Checks, the scheme improved uptake by 82%, while immunisation uptake was 47% higher amongst those supported by the scheme.

Challenges 
 
Despite these amazing results, awareness of the CHWW initiative remained low.

 

ZPB was commissioned by the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC), in partnership with Imperial College and the local primary care teams, to develop and launch a media strategy. They wanted us to help them reach primary care commissioners and HCPs through the media and raise awareness of this amazing initiative.

Approach 

We knew that an earned media partnership was the best way to achieve cut-through and depth of messaging within the busy news agenda. We approached the BBC News Health Team, and secured a feature that would run across BBC R4’s PM Programme and BBC News online.

 

To ensure features that brought the scheme to life, we arranged for the BBC to spend a day in Churchill Gardens. We accompanied them as they walked around the estate with two CHWWs, meeting some of the residents that they supported.

 

In addition to our BBC partnership, we secured coverage in key publications such as BMJ, GP Online, and National Health Executive. This included two in-depth podcast discussions on ‘Talking General Practice’ and ‘Finger on the Pulse’.

Results
 
Our media strategy was a success with key messages impactfully delivered across all coverage. The Churchill Gardens visit with the BBC, led to an in-depth online and radio feature that combined powerful stories with strong imagery.

An estimated 9.4 million people viewed or heard campaign activity

Activity had a total reach of 81 million people

Key campaign media coverage was shared 366 times on social media

Outcomes

Following our media launch, the CHWW scheme has been extended in Churchill Gardens and expanded into other UK Primary Care Networks. Prevention is key to the future health of the UK. At ZPB we were delighted to support the launch of this fantastic initiative.

Interested in working with us? 
Go further with ZPB

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