Evaluation of a health trainer service

This evaluation was set up to compare practice and client outcomes at three different bases, and to understand the experience of clients and other stakeholders.

Identify and understand

Health Trainers deliver advice and support to clients on a range of physical lifestyle behaviour change issues, including; stopping smoking, physical activity, healthy eating (including obesity prevention and management), sensible drinking, practicing safe sex, emotional health and wellbeing. They also signpost clients to other services when necessary or when outside of the Health Trainer remit.

See more about step 1 in the evaluation cycle: Identify and understand


Commissioners wanted to know what effect the service had on its clients, and to understand variation between the three service bases in terms of staffing, ways of working and client outcomes.
Once there was clarity about what was needed, it was decided that an evaluation would be the most best method to find this out.

See more about step 2 in the evaluation cycle: Assess


The overall aims of the evaluation were to:

  • Describe and compare the service provision offered in the three health trainer bases
  • Assess the experience and outcomes of clients accessing the service
  • Assess staff and management satisfaction with the current service
  • Identify levels of stakeholder awareness and partnership working

See more about step 3 in the evaluation cycle: Plan


The evaluation utilised both qualitative and quantitative methods. The evaluation was undertaken over a 6 month period. The seven separate elements of the evaluation were:

  • Client feedback survey
  • Four focus groups with clients
  • In-depth interviews with eight health trainers and three of their managers or work-based supervisors
  • Stakeholder feedback survey
  • Analysis of service data
  • Work diary development and analysis
  • Telephone interview with Practice Manager from the Locality Health Centre

See more about step 4 in the evaluation cycle: Do

Review and act

The evaluation highlighted poor data quality being routinely collected in recording client outcomes, and a lack of client follow-up. As a result, improvements in data quality have been made and the service focused on monitoring client outcomes.

The need to work more closely with GPs was identified, and the service committed to consider offering client appointments during the weekend or evening.

The evaluation confirmed that the service model was effective for clients in many regards, with nine out of ten clients were either satisfied or very satisfied with the Health Trainer Service, the approach of the staff and the location of the service. This evaluation finding was evidence for a good working model, which could be built upon with more robust client outcome data being recorded going forward.

See more about step 5 in the evaluation cycle: Review and act