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Public Health. 2012 Sep;126 Suppl 1:S47-52. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2012.05.023. Epub 2012 Jul 12.

The outreach worker role in an anticipatory care programme: a valuable resource for linking and supporting.

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  • 1Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Medical School, Edinburgh, UK.



Keep Well, an anticipatory care programme which commenced in Scotland in 2006, aims to reduce health inequalities through holistic health checks in primary care in deprived communities. A new, non-clinical outreach worker role was created to provide support and signposting to Keep Well patients following their health check. There is currently little evidence regarding how the role is perceived. The aim of this study was to understand how staff and patients view the Keep Well outreach worker role.


A qualitative interview-based study was carried out between July and October 2010.


One-to-one interviews were conducted with 12 Keep Well staff and four patients. Interviews were transcribed, coded and analysed using a thematic analysis approach.


The outreach worker role was viewed positively, particularly in terms of partnership working with practices and local services, and the benefits of support to patients. Referring patients to outreach workers reduced pressure on staff, who were able to spend more time on patients' physical health rather than mental health or lifestyle support. Support from an outreach worker enabled patients to make changes to their life and their health. Concerns were about staff turnover, poor referral rates, set-up of the project and misinterpretation of the role.


Patients and staff perceive benefits from the outreach worker role in providing motivational support to patients from deprived areas.

Copyright © 2012 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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