Intended for healthcare professionals


Healthy living centres

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 27 November 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1384

Deserve evaluation, even though evaluation is complex

  1. Chris Salisbury, consultant senior lecturer in general practice (
  1. Division of Primary Health Care, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 2PR

    The United Kingdom government has set aside £300m from the National Lottery to establish a network of “healthy living centres” around the country.1 Its aim is to improve health through community action and particularly to reduce inequalities in health in deprived areas. The support for healthy living centres therefore complements other strategies such as health action zones and local health improvement programmes. The initiative involves a considerable commitment of money and energy. How can we tell if this investment is worthwhile? The criteria for assessing applications for lottery funding rightly emphasise the importance of evaluation,1 but the difficulties should not be underestimated.

    Healthy living centres will take various forms and may exist as partnerships and networks rather than as new buildings. They are based on a recognition that determinants of poor health in deprived areas include economic, social, and environmental factors which are outside the influence of conventional health services.2 Any attempt to address these wider issues requires a coordinated approach from several agencies in the statutory and voluntary sectors …

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