Many general practices in Wales have been participating in a ‘Unhealthy Behaviours’ Quality Improvement Project.

https://www.gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2023-02/practice-guidance-for-unhealthy-behaviours-from-the-quality-improvement-project.pdf

What’s it about?

In the simplest terms these are three main aims

  1. Capturing or recording data of ‘unhealthy behaviours’
  2. Using consistent and agreed codes and capturing these when new patients register or when patients with chronic illnesses get their reviews
  3. Undertaking a ‘Quality Improvement Project’ that develops the ways that these practices then help patients that may have these ‘unhealthy behaviours’

What are these unhealthy behaviours?

The project has chosen a specific set of unhealthy  behaviours:

  1. Obesity / High Body Mass Index (BMI)
  2. High risk alcohol intake
  3. Tobacco use

Why are they doing this?

Prevention, prevention, prevention. It is or at least was, a very big part of general practice.

These aren’t the only things we can consider to be ‘unhealthy behaviours’ but for the purpose of having a targeted project these are what have been chosen.

In essence they fit a big part of the ‘Lifestyle Medicine’ and ‘Wellbeing’ ethos of trying to change what we do in our lives to anticipate and hopefully reduce the risk of developing future problems.

When is this being done?

Most practices have already been undertaking this project and are actually due to complete this in a matter of days (31st March 2024)

Anything else?

The project is also looking at long term conditions:

  • Diabetes (all types)
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • ¬†Stroke
  • Heart Failure
  • Ischaemic Heart Disease
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Hypertension
  • Asthma
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

In pretty much all of the above, optimising health and reducing unhealthy behaviours improves patient outcomes.

Effective prevention of illnesses in Primary Care could then mean:

  • reduction in the numbers of people who develop these long term diseases
  • reduction in the numbers of people who develop complications as a result of not managing these long term diseases
  • better use of the ever disappearing resources and funding in healthcare.