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28 September 2022

Health and Wellbeing Coaches inspire patients and reduce GP workloads with person-centred approach

Research finds improved outcomes for patients with long-term conditions when paired with health coaches

Nurse showing a group of patients some medicine

New research by Professor Richard Griffin, Professor of Healthcare Management, shows how Health and Wellbeing Coaches (HWbCs) are inspiring lifestyle changes in patients in northeast London. The report was jointly commissioned by the North East London Health and Care Partnership and The Shoreditch Trust.

Professor Griffin interviewed and surveyed HWbCs and the healthcare practitioners they work with, including GPs and Clinical Directors, who generally found the new role to be positive in its approach to personalised care. His report also suggests how the role could be sustained and evolve in the future , with increased specialism and career progression for the coaches.

Health coaching is an established intervention, however, the HWbC role is new to the NHS. Professor Griffin’s research shows that HWbCs improve outcomes for people experiencing issues such as long-term conditions, anxiety, pain management and social isolation by offering longer one-to-one support and empowering patients to make decisions about improving their health.

It is clear that HWbCs are making a difference to people's lives and meeting a real need that was not previously being addressed. The evaluation shows the importance of personalised care and the impact it can have not only on patients but also other healthcare staff such as GPs. This is particularly significant given the pressures that the NHS is facing.

Professor Richard Griffin

The report found widespread support for this person-centred approach amongst GPs and other healthcare professionals in primary care, highlighting the positive difference the coaches are making by:

  • Providing more client personal care with longer one-to-one sessions to help them take responsibility for their own health
  • Driving behaviour change by helping clients reflect on their health and choices, such as nutrition, exercise, and smoking
  • Helping to reduce GP workloads
  • Providing a space for patients to be heard and supported

The report shows that coaches felt that their work is driving behaviour change in patients, helping them to make health and well-being related decisions through helping them set goals, making onward referrals, and signposting patients to support and advice.

“Making a difference”: An evalulation of Health and Wellbeing Coaches in North East London


The North East London Health and Care Partnership is a formal alliance of partners with a role in improving the health and wellbeing of residents. Together it sets the overall strategy that will guide its collective work and hold the wider health and care system to account for how services are delivered in a more joined up way.

The Shoreditch Trust supports people who are facing challenging situations to make positive life changes, access opportunities and build connections with our community of clients, volunteers, staff, partners, and supporters. Our focus is on working with people who experience health, economic and social inequality. 

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Professor of Healthcare Management