Health and Wellbeing Zones - Derbyshire County Council

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Project description

Derbyshire County Council's Health and Wellbeing Zones first started in 2011 and there are now 20 dedicated zones across the region. Many of them are in libraries but they can also be found in extra care housing schemes and community care centres. They are a 'first stop shop' for health and wellbeing information. The zones are branded using common signage to welcome people to use them. Generally, the zones have a mix of leaflets, books, health improvement information and internet connectivity.

Ten of the zones have touch screen i-pads with simplified on-screen icons for easy access to web-based information. Other zones use the locations computers and in the few places without internet access they provide hard copy health and wellbeing information.

Who is the service for?

The service is for all Derbyshire residents, it is particularly beneficial for those who don't have access to the internet at home. The simple i-pad touch screen links people easily to a range of helpful websites.

Intended outcomes

The aim to is give people easy access to preventative information and community resources, so that they can find the information they need to support their health and wellbeing, with the aim of avoiding the need for funded care services. Derbyshire County Council is enabling people to take more responsibility for their individual health and wellbeing.

Why is the service being developed?

The original zones were set up in conjunction with a local Citizens Advice Bureau and the old Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust. There was concern that local people found it difficult to access health and wellbeing information and advice in neutral settings. In addition there was a strong desire to provide internet access so people had the opportunity to develop an understanding of how to search for and obtain information online prior to any crisis information need.

Were people who use services and carers and other key stakeholders involved in setting up this service?

Various community groups were consulted including Derbyshire's 50 plus forums. The work to get the zones up and running was very much a partnership venture between the Council's departments of adult social care, public health agencies, library services, adult education, and North East Derbyshire Citizens Advice Bureau.

Has the service met the intended outcomes?

The service is currently being evaluated. Evaluation to date reports that the i-pads are well used and are providing efficient access to comprehensive information more easily. Partner colleagues have observed that the zones are being used by customers and we are collecting information on web use via Google Analytics. They make it less stigmatising to obtain information about certain subjects, e.g. mental health, as people can self-serve without having to talk to a professional.

We know from our ASCOF 2012/13 satisfaction survey that people are feeling better informed and we suspect that is due in some small part to the provision of health and wellbeing zones. However, a clear correlation cannot be claimed at this stage.

Do you have information on costs or savings?

As with much preventative work, it will be difficult to quantify any specific savings. However, the provision will help people to find what they need without always having to contact organisations directly. This in itself will generate a saving in staff time. They give access to information about opportunities and resources to help people stay healthier for longer and so delay need for more expensive statutory services.

The cost of purchasing, setting up and supporting a secure i-pad kiosk is approximately £4,200.

What were the learning points in setting up this service?

  • We intended that the zones would be supported by NHS Health Champions, who could spend time with users and help bring the zones 'alive' for them. However, due to changes in service priorities and tightening finances, this has not been possible. We are now trying to recruit volunteers through the Libraries Service to support the zones. The volunteers will help people who need more assistance and pro-actively support signposting
  • Use a variety of locations for the zones to enable wider participation with the scheme
  • Be flexible in terms of what is provided in zones
  • Use the zones as a focus point for other activity or to support other initiatives, and contact with the public
  • People coming to the zones can get small pieces of information photocopied but normally can't take a whole book home unless the zone is in a library setting. Pencils and paper, Ikea style, are useful
  • Zones can be tailored to fit the available space, whether large or small
  • Good, strong, welcoming branding of the zones is important.

Contact details

Sharon O'Hara, Service Manager, Service Manager (Information), Adult Care, Derbyshire County Council
01629 532451