Coaching programme delivering personalised care

Health Connect Coaching is a volunteer peer Health and Wellbeing Coaching Programme, developed by intrapreneur Helen Davies-Cox, a nurse with over 30 years’ experience and Head of Personalised Care at Torbay and Devon NHS Trust.

  • Coaching programme to delivery personalised care.
  • Peer support to those living with long term health conditions.
  • Supporting system transformation

Health Connect Coaching is a novel and innovative solution to delivering Personalised Care and improving an individual’s self-care capability.  Coordinator’s recruit, train, support and supervise volunteers with lived experience of managing their health conditions effectively and match them with others who require additional support. Working with specialist secondary care teams and primary care colleagues, both potential coaches and peers are identified. Then over a 6-month period, peers receive targeted health coaching conversations using a tapered empowering model, focusing on what matters to them, building optimal self-management capability, social connections, and resilience.  This model is cost effective and scalable with each full-time coordinator being able to manage between 50-100 volunteer coaches and each coach having the potential to support up to 5 people a year.

Helen Davies-Cox, Head of Personalised Care at Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust, introduced Health Connect Coaching

More and more people are living with one or more health conditions.

As an increased percentage of our population are living with co-morbidities, many people still do not have the sufficient level of knowledge, skills, and confidence to optimise their self-care capabilities and as a result experience poorer outcomes and seek greater healthcare support. 

In 2019, Helen was set a challenge by the Torbay and South Devon NHS trust’s medical director to explore how personalised care can support outpatient transformation and reduce face to face follow-up by a third.

Helen undertook literature reviews to identify which self-management interventions were evidenced around the optimisation of self-care for their four focus condition specialties: Neurology, Respiratory, Rheumatology and Diabetes. Funded by a successful Health Foundation Q Initiative they then undertook a large scale co-design event with people who were in 1 of 4 secondary care follow-up clinics.  At the event people shared their ideas for transforming outpatients and the proposal of developing a peer-to-volunteer Health and Wellbeing coaching offer was born. 

Moving forward 3 years…

Health Connect Coaching is now an integration of service offer- It can support a significant number of people wherever they sit within the health and care system, and it is not limited to secondary care, despite the innovation emerging from the initial secondary care challenge.   

The innovation can support reducing health inequalities, including improving outcomes for people and the system.  It is a valued innovation and model for delivering improved activation, self-care capabilities and outcomes. 

The model is continuously co-designed alongside people with lived experience and the clinical teams. The training and supervision model has shifted from being 100% live/face to face to a hybrid model of asynchronous learning via a digital, self-paced, learning platform, complimented with live sessions to embed the learning, enable skills practice and competency support and assessment. 

‘’True co-design takes time, effort and a genuine appetite to learn and adapt however the product that emerges is all the richer and valuable- we are forever learning’’

Helen Davies-Cox Registered Nurse, Specialist Community Public Health Nurse, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust 

The service has now been running for several months and the team currently have 20 volunteer coaches. Each coach will be initially matched with one peer until they become confident with the process.

You will not regret being a part of something so awesome!  

After joining the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme in 2020, Helen has communicated that she is gained a lot, including Inspiration, connectivity with likeminded people, exposure to ideas, work, funding, opportunities, knowledge, and an unleashing of the mind.            

Helen encourages anyone who is thinking of joining the programme to go for it!

The next steps for Health Connect Coaching

Health Connect Coaching aims to continue growing and evidencing the innovation. Helen is looking to spread and scale across the Devon ICS and further afield.  To get involved or for more information please contact Helen via email: or visit the LinkedIn page


Published by Lucy Dentice

Deputy Programme Manager for the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme.