Introduction It is well recognised that adopting a healthier lifestyle leads to better health, improved survival and reduced NHS costs. There are numerous missed opportunities within secondary care to identify high-risk patients and intervene early to prevent illness. The aim of this study was to examine knowledge, attitude and perceived barriers of members of staff to provide healthy lifestyle advise such as Smoking cessation, Weight management, Alcohol consumption and Physical activity (SWAP) and referral to appropriate services.
Methods A questionnaire was distributed to all members of staff working at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS trust electronically and via paper copies.
Results A total of 558 responses were secured from a wide breadth of staff (doctors (23%), Nurses/midwives (36.2%), allied health professionals (11.3%), Pharmacists (1.8%), Admin (8.1%), Domestic/porters (4.1%), clinical support staff (13.8%). Most respondents saw it as their role to encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Staff had limited knowledge of local resources, however significantly higher knowledge scores were seen for stopping smoking verses weight management (P < 0.001) and physical activity (P < 0.001). Most respondents knew how to refer patients for smoking cessation (66%) and alcohol services (63%), which was significantly higher compared to weight management (39%) and physical activity (36%) services (P < 001). 56% participants had not given any life style advice within the previous week, 4% to at least 5 people and 3% to more than 10. 72% participants had not referred anyone to services. The top barriers identified included patient unreadiness to change, unclear referral pathways, lack of time and need for additional training. 82% of staff had no formal training.
Conclusion It is encouraging that a large proportion of staff in secondary care see it as their role to give lifestyle advise, however the majority don’t do it due to barriers including lack of time, knowledge and training. We have therefore devised an electronic training package that has gone live on our trust intranet page giving very brief advise on SWAP as well as providing an electronic referral system that will ensure a ‘one click’ referral system to the appropriate service. We plan to re audit in a few months time.