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People powered primary care: learning from Halton

Mark Swift (Wellbeing Enterprises CIC, Runcorn, UK)

Journal of Integrated Care

ISSN: 1476-9018

Article publication date: 3 July 2017




A community-centred approach to health called Community Wellbeing Practices (CWP) is being offered to patients at all 17 GP practices in Halton in order to respond more appropriately to patients’ social needs, which are often an underlying reason for their presentation at primary care services. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


Delivered in partnership with a local social enterprise this approach is centred on the integration of community assets and non-medical community-based support provided by the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. The core elements include community navigation, social prescribing and social action approaches.


The CWP initiative has supported more than 5,000 patients over the last four years and has evidenced demonstrable improvements in a range of health and social outcomes for patients.

Research limitations/implications

The initiative has been well received by clinicians and social care professionals and has contributed to a cultural transformation in the way health and care professionals are responding to the identified needs of the community.

Practical implications

Using community-centred approaches in this way may help to augment clinical outcomes as well as reduce demand on over stretched public services.

Social implications

Community-centred models such as the one in Halton have the potential to empower citizens to play an active role in creating healthier communities by catalysing a “people powered” social movement for health.


The CWP model in Halton is a good example of the way community-centred approaches to health can be integrated with health and care pathways to augment clinical outcomes and reduce demand on over stretched services.



Swift, M. (2017), "People powered primary care: learning from Halton", Journal of Integrated Care, Vol. 25 No. 3, pp. 162-173.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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