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Assessing the value for money of an integrated health and wellbeing service in the UK

Visram, Shelina; Walton, Nick; Akhter, Nasima; Lewis, Sue; Lister, Graham

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Shelina Visram

Nick Walton

Sue Lewis

Graham Lister


Lay health workers have been utilized to deliver health promotion programmes in a variety of settings. However, few studies have sought to determine whether these programmes represent value for money, particularly in a UK context. The present study involved an economic evaluation of Wellbeing for Life, an integrated health and wellbeing service in northern England. The service combined one-to-one interventions delivered by lay health workers (known as health trainers), group wellbeing interventions, volunteering opportunities and other community development activities. Value for money was assessed using an established economic model developed with input from a panel of commissioners and providers, and the main data source was the national health trainer data collection and reporting system. Between June 2015 and January 2017, behaviour change outcomes (i.e. whether client goals in relation to diet, physical activity, smoking or other behaviours, had been achieved) were recorded for 2433 of the 3179 individuals who accessed one-to-one interventions. The level of achievement observed gave an estimated total health gain of 287.7 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). In addition, there were 4669 health-promoting events, five asset mapping projects and 1595 occurrences of signposting to other services. Combining the value of individual behaviour change with the value of these additional activities gave an overall net cost per QALY gained of £3,900 and a total estimated societal value of at least £3.45 for every £1 spent on the service. These results suggest that the Wellbeing for Life service offered good value for money. Further research is needed to systematically and comprehensively determine the societal value of similar holistic, asset-based and lay-led approaches.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 1, 2019
Online Publication Date Nov 14, 2019
Publication Date Jan 31, 2020
Deposit Date Nov 15, 2019
Publicly Available Date Nov 14, 2020
Journal Social science and medicine
Print ISSN 0277-9536
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 245
Article Number 112661
Public URL


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