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IMPROVING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF HEALTH EVENTS – A GUIDE TO PLANNING AND PCT PARTICIPATION AIM To provide a practical framework, for use by: 1) those planning health events, and 2) those assisting with this planning, or requested to participate in a health event. The framework is to enable a consistent assessment for the need of large scale health events and improve their effectiveness. These questions support assessment from a health improvement perspective in particular. An alternative assessment may be made from a publicity/public relations perspective. OBJECTIVES     

To assess the appropriateness/need of a health event. To be able to identify the value and likely effectiveness/health improvement of a health event. To ensure evaluation is in place throughout. To enable PCT staff to disseminate good practice in planning or facilitating a health event. To inform decision-making about participation in health events.

HEALTH EVENTS The term ‘health event’ includes health campaigns, health fairs, health days, road shows, market stalls, special events and galas. It is recognised that the above titles can also mean different things to different individuals/organisations. Often these are “one off”, uncoordinated events without evidence. Existing literature does not support health events that are solely generic in nature. Research has shown that health events with a specific purpose are deemed to be successful, e.g. highlighting the availability of a service, or for public consultation. Advantages of Health Events o o o o

Partnership building (multi-agency/teams) Network opportunities. Promotion of service/organisations. Appropriate professionals with specialist knowledge.

Disadvantages of Health Events o o o o o o

Time consuming in preparation and delivery. Availability of resources (people, materials etc). Does it change attitudes and promote choice? Is it measurable – quantity versus quality? How much information is retained? It can be threatening for the public (being approached) Inappropriate audience unless specifically targeted. 1


Bryan J.M. et al. How effective are health fairs? Quantitative evaluation of a community health fair American Journal of Health Promotion 1991; 6(2):85-8 Jennings – Sanders, A. Using Health fairs to examine health promotion behaviors of older African Americans. The ABNF Journal 2003; 14(1):13-6 Werch C.E., Schroeder D.A., & Matthews L.L. The health fair as a health promotion strategy: effects on health risk behaviour and the utility of specific health fair activities J Am Coll Health 1986; 35(2):74-9


HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE Section A is a checklist for anyone planning or organising a health event. The criteria included are those which maximise effectiveness of a health event, and ensure that any messages or approaches are appropriate for the target audience. Information is included at the end of this section on which key contacts to approach for further advice. If someone else (e.g. outside the PCT) is planning the event, then this checklist should be completed by them, with assistance from a relevant member of PCT staff if required. It should only be necessary for the checklist to be completed once for each event. Therefore, it is advisable to check whether this has already happened.

Section B is a checklist for a member of PCT staff who is approached to participate in a health event. It includes criteria to help decide whether participation is helpful, necessary or justified, based on the information provided in Section A. Therefore, both sections should be used to inform decision-making. At the end of Section B is a box to record the decision made about participation, and any recommendations made in discussion with the health event organiser. N.B.If more than one member of PCT staff is approached, only one copy of Section A need be completed. Each member of staff may find it helpful to complete Section B in relation to their own work area. If PCT participation is not required, Section A can be used to guide planning for a health event. This will help to disseminate good practice where health staff are not directly involved, and improve effectiveness of planned health events.


Check whether the organiser has already completed the Section A checklist. If not, ask them to complete it, and offer assistance if required

If they require PCT participation, check whether you are the most relevant person for involvement and, if so, complete Section B.

If they have already completed Section A, ask which member of staff this was with so that you can obtain a copy.

Check with the member of staff what their recommendations were.

Complete Section B and decide whether involvement is appropriate.

If not, or if they no longer require input, encourage use of Section A as a guide to planning.

Remember to retain a copy so that you can answer any queries from any other member of PCT staff.


SECTION A – Event Organiser to complete


Is the event part of a structured programme or project to change attitudes and promote choices? (more likely to be effective/successful)


What is the identified health need for this event? (i.e. what health issues are there?) How has this been identified?


Who identified this need? (i.e. who has gathered evidence about this?) (professional or target group) (action focused on addressing identified needs is more effective)


What are the aims and objectives identified for the event? (i.e. what do you hope to achieve, and how?) (assists in helping to provide the most appropriate interventions and ensures everyone has clear expectations of each other)


Is this the most appropriate/acceptable approach to support the identified needs? If so, why? (Evidence-based focused interventions on the basis of need in a particular group are more effective. Seek further advice about this if necessary.)


Who will this event be attended by? Are they a target group for this health priority? i.e. not just delivering to vulnerable groups? (need to target groups of the population to help reduce inequalities)


Are there any relevant ethical or moral issues? E.g. will your health messages be/have to be modified depending on the target audience; how will you deal with any sensitive issues? What other organisations are involved, and why? (i.e. how does this relate to your aims/objectives?)



If you are requesting involvement from the PCT in your event, what are you asking them to do? (Screening will not be undertaken at these events, just signposting to it)


How will you be monitoring and evaluating the impact of your event upon health? i.e. how will you know if it has made a difference? (increases the impact of any interventions and potentially its sustainability)



11. Who will you be sharing this information with, and how will you do this? E.g. follow-up meetings, reports etc. 12. Has a health and safety risk assessment been undertaken? If yes by whom?

Key Contacts for Further Information For information or advice about any of these criteria, please contact the Public Health department. If the event focuses on a particular health issue, please contact the member of staff working with this remit. They will be able to discuss current health priorities and target groups, clarify any ethical concerns, or may be able to suggest different approaches or interventions to achieve your aims. For specialist advice on a clinical area such as diabetes or heart disease, please contact the named PCT or NHS specialist. Advice and information specifically around smoking can be obtained directly from the smoking cessation department.


SECTION B – PCT Staff Member to complete QUESTION

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1. Do the aims of the health event relate to a PCT health priority? Is this relevant to your work?

2. What is the target group? Is this relevant to the health priority?

3. Is the approach acceptable/appropriate to the target audience and the health priority?

4. Is the evaluation and monitoring being done effectively? How will this inform our work around the priority?

5. Is there necessary support for the request for involvement e.g. resources (human, managerial, material, financial?) (prioritise PCT resources appropriately) 6. Is there a political reason to attend (e.g. forming alliances and partnerships)?

7. What are the consequences of the PCT not participating in the event?

Assessment Carried out By Date Completed Recommendation Comments

Compiled for Kirklees PCT by D Taylor and AM Bennett February 2005, Public Health. Revised by S Arratoonian September 2007, Public Health.