• Run by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with West End Family Health and HealthWORKS in Newcastle, UK and Deakin University in Australia.
  • Focusing on people with long-term conditions in primary and specialist care.
  • Will use the Ophelia (OPtimising HEalth LIteracy and Access) approach to identify and address strengths and weaknesses in the health care system.
  • Will enable clinicians and community members to co-produce innovative, locally relevant service redesign and improvements.

Around 40% of people have one or more long-term condition, and their care accounts for 70% of the health and social care budget. Many people do not have the knowledge, skills or confidence to engage effectively in health promotion activities and active self-management of their condition. It is critical that people are supported to be able to do this more effectively.

Health literacy describes how people find out about health, and understand and use that information to achieve better health. Addressing health literacy is increasingly seen as an important way to reduce health inequalities and improve health outcomes.

This project will look to understand and respond to health literacy needs using the Ophelia (OPtimising HEalth LIteracy and Access) approach – a robust process to enable clinicians, service users and community groups to co-produce effective interventions within clinical and community settings. Originally developed in Australia, this will be the first time the Ophelia approach has been used in the UK.

The process starts with identification of a particular part of the health care system that is not meeting service users’ needs. Using the Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ), the needs, capabilities and experiences of service users are profiled. HLQ data are then presented in highly engaging ‘vignettes' of typical community cases. Solutions are then co-produced and used to deliver service redesign and improvement.

The project team will focus on parallel settings in primary and specialist care, initially the Czech-Roma population in the West End of Newcastle, and also people with chronic lung disease attending specialist clinics in North Tyneside General Hospital.

Contact details

For more information about this project, you can contact Dr Simon Eaton Consultant Diabetologist at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Clinical Lead at Year of Care Partnerships.