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Making Every Contact Count: Briefing for the Voluntary and Community Sector

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Fri, 11/01/2013

Making Every Contact Count (MECC) is about empowering everyone that works in health and social care to inform and enable others to make positive changes to their lifestyles.

By delivering consistent and simple healthy lifestyle advice combined with appropriate signposting to lifestyle services all staff can deliver MECC and embed the delivery of healthy lifestyle advice into the day-to-day activity of the health and social care sector. MECC builds on the separate strands of health promotion and advice work already in place to tackle unhealthy lifestyles by bringing them together under a single programme in which everyone can play their part.

The lifestyle behaviours they are seeking to promote are:

  • Stopping smoking
  • Drinking alcohol within the recommended daily limits
  • Eating a healthy diet (5 a day)
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Taking regular physical activity

The objectives of ‘Making Every Contact Count’ are:

  • To systematically utilise the millions of contacts that people have with providers of health and social care to deliver brief advice on healthy lifestyle behaviours and to signpost people to appropriate behaviour change services
  • To increase the prevalence of healthy lifestyle behaviours amongst staff and the populations they serve
  • To reduce the inequalities in health outcomes associated with lifestyle behaviours

To help achieve these objectives NHS Midlands and East has produced a range of materials for NHS organisations to support them in preparing and implementing MECC and in communicating MECC to staff and patients. These materials along with case studies of MECC in practice are available here and can be adapted for use by non-NHS organisations.

What are the implications of Making Every Contact Count for the voluntary and community sectors?

As providers of health and care services voluntary and community sector organisations have the contacts with the public that provide the opportunities to make every contact count. As such, organisations may wish to implement MECC as a way of enhancing the service they offer to local communities and to their staff and volunteers.

Organisations may find that as MECC is implemented across the NHS and local government demand for their services increases, especially if they are providers of services that are signposted to. In some cases, organisations will find that commissioners of their services will incorporate MECC into their contracts. Consequently, voluntary and community sector organisations may wish to train staff to deliver MECC.

As employers voluntary and community sector organisations may wish to use MECC as a way of promoting employee health and wellbeing. A range of training materials are available here and an e-learning package ‘Every Contact Counts’ is available here and here

To see MECC in action please watch the short video located here

Full details and website here