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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Dr Susan Lewis

Visram, Shelina, Walton, Nick, Akhter, Nasima, Lewis, Sue & Lister, Graham (2020). Assessing the value for money of an integrated health and wellbeing service in the UK. Social Science & Medicine 245: 112661.

Author(s) from Durham


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.