Ways to Wellness is committed to working with delivery partners and academics to fully understand the impact of our work.

As part of this, Newcastle and Durham Universities have been conducting a study evaluating the impact of the Ways to Wellness service, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Public Health Research Programme.

This extensive quantitative and qualitative evaluation was completed in April 2021. The evaluation, focusing on people with Type 2 diabetes, will include an analysis of the impact of the service on blood glucose control (HbA1c), blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, smoking, a full cost benefit analysis, and two ethnographic studies – one with link workers and the other with service users. Evaluations will use quantitative data (health-related quality of life assessments, GP practice data and hospital data) and qualitative data (observations and interviews with service users, their families and link workers).

The first paper from this research was published in the Jama Open Network in September 2021. It examines whether the Ways to Wellness program is associated with improved glycemic control among UK patients aged 40 to 74 years with Type 2 diabetes. They found that the intervention was associated with improved glycemic control, suggesting that social prescribing interventions like Ways to Wellness may help to reduce the public health burden of Type 2 diabetes.

Sandra Mitchell-Phillips, Chief Executive of Ways to Wellness said:

"We are delighted to have been involved in this research, which demonstrates the incredible impact our link worker teams are having for people living with Type 2 diabetes in the West of Newcastle. More broadly, this is an important contribution to the evidence base around social prescribing, and demonstrates the enormous impact that link workers can have on tackling inequalities and improving people’s health."

The full paper can be found in the JAMA open network here: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2783668