Cambridgeshire County Council wanted to improve the uptake of NHS Health Checks amongst the eligible population across Cambridgeshire. The checks provided a free ‘Health MOT’ for people aged 40-74. The aim was to identify health risks earlier on, contributing to a more preventative strategy and better wellbeing. However, there was low uptake on the scheme, especially in less urban parts of the county like Fenland. In particular, there was significant mistrust and a lack of knowledge and understanding about certain aspects of the NHS.
How we approached it
To address the challenge, we used our Values Modes tool. Our research found that residents reluctant to attend health checks tended to be Settlers, who are focused on safety, and tend to be distrustful of most forms of communication. It also showed they were most likely to be persuaded by members of the community and of their family, than by professionals.
This helped us develop a community strategy, with an emphasis on spreading the message organically, through trusted sources. We delivered a face-to-face community communicators model (which we called ‘Health Check Champions’). Time Credits were used to incentivise the champions. As well as trust and familiarity being vital, Settlers also think in ultra-local ways, and can be deterred by overly technical, high-handed or centralised services and messages. So we developed simple, common sense asks, based on happiness and peace of mind.
Through combining the NHS Health Check Champions Scheme with a more orthodox awareness campaign and a GP engagement programme, we delivered a major tranche of outreach over a sustained period. In all we hired 37 champions, who has 1,400 conversations and handed out literature to over 3,000 people, at events across the county.