Abingdon GP Federation is signposting patients to their new health advice website ‘COACH’ which has been built as part of Oxfordshire’s winning bid to the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund.

The demand on frontline NHS services has never been so high and for the last four years, health professionals have been encouraged to invest in smarter ways of delivering care and support to patients. Abingdon GP Federation is the latest health body to launch LookingLocal’s solution to help deliver against this challenge.

The online platform, HealthMyself provides a place for users to find trusted, relevant and local health and wellbeing advice. HealthMyself provides patients with a 24-hour portal of support, that can be accessed anywhere, anytime and on any device. It targets a vast number of issues including mental health, support for the elderly and a variety of long-term conditions.

The HealthMyself platform for Abingdon has been branded as COACH (County of Oxfordshire Advice on Care & Health). Although initially launch will take place in Abingdon, the aim is to eventually promote the website across the Oxfordshire county.

COACH offers patients healthcare support, local information and signposting in four key areas: Health Services, Support & Advice, Wellbeing and Health Conditions, with information sourced from a range of providers including NHS Choices, Oxfordshire County Council and local voluntary and support groups. The website has over 300 signposted links to trusted advice from third party organisations and the added unique approach to the COACH website is it’s developing directory solution. The directory allows users to find relevant services, clubs, and support groups within the local area.

David Ridgway, Practice Manager and lead in the COACH project says; “Having the right tool to find support services, the latest health information, and local groups will help many patients and their families – especially those that once felt alone with their condition or situation – have a chance to better understand more about their health. COACH is crucial for patients who may feel isolated by their condition, as it will help them to meet and connect with people in similar situations.”

This service is complemented by a range of feeds from external sources including sites such as Facebook, Yelp, MeetUp and YouTube and is easy to manage; the smart technology enables the administrator to ensure that only trusted and relevant content is seen by the end user. COACH also encourages users to self-care by choosing the right service or using the NHS Choices symptom checker, while under the comprehensive Health Services section they can look up their nearest pharmacies, dentists, GPs, and opticians. With a commitment to promote wellbeing, COACH offers users the latest information on healthier living, including interactive health apps that help with a variety of things including quitting smoking and healthy eating.

However, COACH’s Wellbeing section is not just health focused, recognising that external factors such as housing, loneliness, bereavement and/or financial worries can all affect a person’s health. Advice addressing all these areas and more will enable people across the local area to find the right help for their individual needs. The COACH site is available at www.my-coach.org.uk