The NHS Health Check is a programme targeting all adults aged 40 to 70 which focuses on the early identification of any problems to reduce the need for intensive treatment by adjustments in lifestyle choices. Although uptake of the Health Check was high in comparison to other areas of the country, Leicester has an average life expectancy that is lower than the average across England. Therefore Leicester City Council (LCC) wished to commission consumer insight work to identify and explore attitudes towards the programme, barriers to uptake and ways to overcome barriers. Enventure Research was appointed to conduct this programme of research.
A phased qualitative approach was chosen to provide sufficient depth of understanding and to enable any potentially sensitive topic areas to be researched in an appropriate manner. Six scoping and insight focus groups were held with the specified target audience of residents aged between 40 and 74 living in the Leicester City Council area who were eligible for the Health Checks programme. Groups were stratified by gender, age and ethnicity in order to allow participants to feel comfortable discussing potentially sensitive health topics, and also to encourage group discussion and empathy from shared experiences.
Focus group participants were recruited by Enventure Research with support from Leicester City Council, the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, Healthwatch Leicestershire and other local community groups. This recruitment comprised a mixture of direct on-street recruitment, referrals and snowballing. Each group was attended by between eight and nine participants and lasted for approximately 90 minutes. Interpreters were present in some of the groups to ensure that language was not a barrier to participating in the discussion. The groups were moderated by male and female researchers from Enventure Research, who followed a specifically designed discussion guide to allow all relevant topics to be covered.
Following the scoping and insight focus groups, Leicester City Council used the findings from the research to design new communications materials to promote the NHS Health Checks Programme in Leicester. To ensure that the new designs were appropriate, a further two testing and evaluating focus groups were held with participants who attended the scoping and insight groups. These groups were attended by male and female participants of various ages and ethnicities to reflect the target audience and population of Leicester. Each group lasted for approximately 60 minutes.
Results and Benefits to the Client
Upon completion of the fieldwork, Enventure Research conducted detailed analysis of the findings, highlighting the key themes arising in a comprehensive research report. The insight gained from the research was used to help shape and inform a localised campaign for the promotion of the Health Check.