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Living Well in Sutton and Merton

Health and Wellbeing Services at St Mary's was commissioned by NHS South West London in June 2011 to design and deliver a two year health improvement service to encourage adults living in Sutton and Merton to be more healthy and active. Consequently, ‘LiveWell’ was born in London.

LiveWell provided individuals with a free service, starting with a one-to-one session with a trained LiveWell Health Advisor, in which the service user was assisted in setting personal health goals.

Each Advisor was trained in a behaviour change technique known as motivational interviewing, which is a collaborative person-centred form of guiding to elicit and strengthen motivation for change.

The Advisor’s support for that individual would continue over two to three months as they worked towards achieving their goals. Follow-up appointments were available after ten weeks to discuss the individual’s progress and achievements with their Health Advisor.

At this point, they were given the opportunity to set new goals with their Advisor, or finish their involvement with the service. LiveWell Sutton and Merton also directed people to local community activities and events that they might be interested in, as well as providing signposting to local specialist services, and access to up to date health information and advice.

Attendees were encouraged to rate the service, and ultimately 74.5% of those that did said the service was good or very good. As part of the LiveWell project, Dr Katie Morton, Research Fellow in the School of Sport, Health and Applied Science (SHAS) at St Mary’s University, published a systematic review examining the effectiveness of motivational interviewing for health behaviour change in primary care settings.

What the Clients Said

"My target was to lose three kilos. I met with my Health Advisor and revealed my bad habits. I committed to walking up and down stairs at the office instead of using the lift, not to drink alcohol mid-week and to stop buying and eating butter which reduced dramatically my consumption of bread. At my second review meeting I was really pleased to report that I adhered to my commitments and reached my target weight."

"I didn't think it was going to be easy changing my lifestyle but with the support and a push start from my Health Advisor it has made a huge difference. I know I can and will continue to do this because I'm actually enjoying what I'm doing now and I am looking forward to the future in a much more positive way."

What’s Next?

With the success of this project and completion of the two years in 2013, the model has now been rolled out across a number of London Boroughs including Richmond.

Health and Wellbeing Services continue to deliver healthcare projects in the local area and beyond, and are particularly keen to replicate the success they have had with motivational interviewing.