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Meeting the UK Government’s prevention agenda: primary care practitioners can be trained in skills to prevent disease and support self-management

Meeting the UK Government’s prevention agenda: primary care practitioners can be trained in skills to prevent disease and support self-management
Meeting the UK Government’s prevention agenda: primary care practitioners can be trained in skills to prevent disease and support self-management
Aims
The NHS Long Term Plan has a prevention focus and ambition to support patients to self-manage disease through improving health behaviours. An essential requirement of self-management is behaviour change, but many practitioners have not been trained in skills to support behaviour change. ‘Healthy Conversation Skills’ (HCS) training was developed at the University of Southampton for this purpose. This paper reports on a pilot study which aimed to assess the feasibility of primary care practitioners adopting HCS in their routine practice. It describes their experiences and level of competence post-training.

Methods
Health Education England (Wessex) commissioned HCS training for 18 primary care practitioners. Fifteen of these practitioners were subsequently observed in their consultations at one or two time points; face-to-face semi-structured, reflective feedback interviews were conducted immediately following the observations. Practitioners’ HCS competence was assessed from the observations and interviews using a previously developed and published coding rubric. The interview data were analysed thematically in order to understand practitioners’ experiences of using the new skills.

Results
Practitioners demonstrated competence in embedding the skills into their routine practice following HCS training. They reflected on how patients liked being asked questions, the usefulness of setting SMARTER goals and the power of listening. They could also identify facilitators of skill use and ways to overcome challenges such as patients with competing priorities and organisational constraints. They found the skills valuable as a way of empowering patients to make changes to manage their own health.

Conclusions
HCS are acceptable to primary care practitioners, can be readily adopted into their routine consultations and are a helpful strategy for supporting patients to make changes. HCS training has the potential to be a sustainable, scalable and effective way of contributing to the prevention agenda by supporting disease self-management, and hence of addressing today’s epidemic of lifestyle-related conditions
1757-9147
Lawrence, Wendy
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Watson, Daniella
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Barker, Hannah
d6a8b75f-432e-4825-ba6c-2db7a0e381c2
Vogel, Christina
768f1dcd-2697-4aae-95cc-ee2f6d63dff5
Rahman, Em
40dcaa0e-bf4a-4efa-928e-4c162b5030b7
Barker, Mary
374310ad-d308-44af-b6da-515bf5d2d6d2
Lawrence, Wendy
e9babc0a-02c9-41df-a289-7b18f17bf7d8
Watson, Daniella
26005c9f-779f-407b-b7e4-b7c9b812b6be
Barker, Hannah
d6a8b75f-432e-4825-ba6c-2db7a0e381c2
Vogel, Christina
768f1dcd-2697-4aae-95cc-ee2f6d63dff5
Rahman, Em
40dcaa0e-bf4a-4efa-928e-4c162b5030b7
Barker, Mary
374310ad-d308-44af-b6da-515bf5d2d6d2

Lawrence, Wendy, Watson, Daniella, Barker, Hannah, Vogel, Christina, Rahman, Em and Barker, Mary (2021) Meeting the UK Government’s prevention agenda: primary care practitioners can be trained in skills to prevent disease and support self-management. Perspectives in Public Health. (doi:10.1177/1757913920977030).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Aims
The NHS Long Term Plan has a prevention focus and ambition to support patients to self-manage disease through improving health behaviours. An essential requirement of self-management is behaviour change, but many practitioners have not been trained in skills to support behaviour change. ‘Healthy Conversation Skills’ (HCS) training was developed at the University of Southampton for this purpose. This paper reports on a pilot study which aimed to assess the feasibility of primary care practitioners adopting HCS in their routine practice. It describes their experiences and level of competence post-training.

Methods
Health Education England (Wessex) commissioned HCS training for 18 primary care practitioners. Fifteen of these practitioners were subsequently observed in their consultations at one or two time points; face-to-face semi-structured, reflective feedback interviews were conducted immediately following the observations. Practitioners’ HCS competence was assessed from the observations and interviews using a previously developed and published coding rubric. The interview data were analysed thematically in order to understand practitioners’ experiences of using the new skills.

Results
Practitioners demonstrated competence in embedding the skills into their routine practice following HCS training. They reflected on how patients liked being asked questions, the usefulness of setting SMARTER goals and the power of listening. They could also identify facilitators of skill use and ways to overcome challenges such as patients with competing priorities and organisational constraints. They found the skills valuable as a way of empowering patients to make changes to manage their own health.

Conclusions
HCS are acceptable to primary care practitioners, can be readily adopted into their routine consultations and are a helpful strategy for supporting patients to make changes. HCS training has the potential to be a sustainable, scalable and effective way of contributing to the prevention agenda by supporting disease self-management, and hence of addressing today’s epidemic of lifestyle-related conditions

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HEW HCS Perspectives in PH - final accepted version - Accepted Manuscript
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HEW HCS pilot paper Table 1
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 4 November 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 15 February 2021

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 444982
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/444982
ISSN: 1757-9147
PURE UUID: 206e903e-4c9b-4b25-bcdb-a587dbd926e7
ORCID for Wendy Lawrence: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1264-0438
ORCID for Christina Vogel: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3897-3786
ORCID for Mary Barker: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2976-0217

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 Nov 2020 17:30
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 05:39

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Contributors

Author: Wendy Lawrence ORCID iD
Author: Daniella Watson
Author: Hannah Barker
Author: Christina Vogel ORCID iD
Author: Em Rahman
Author: Mary Barker ORCID iD

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