The MECC Approach

The MECC approach aims to empower staff working particularly in health services and partner organisations, to recognise the role they have in promoting healthy lifestyles, supporting behaviour change and contributing to reducing the risk of chronic disease. This recognition extends not only to their interaction with clients/patients, but also to their own health and wellbeing and that of their friends, families and colleagues.

To be successful MECC must not be seen as a separate public health initiative, but a part of what we all do. Adopting this approach will allow us to move to a position where discussion of lifestyle and wellbeing is routine, non-judgemental and integral to everyone's professional and social responsibility.

For the NHS, it is important that the professions and the people they serve are fully engaged. MECC should be viewed as a quality improvement initiative which will help extend the focus of NHS Wales to include prevention. It could also be a tool to support coproduction.

Prudent Healthcare suggests we should start with effective but minimum intensity intervention, which can be achieved by healthy lifestyle conversations such as through MECC.

Leadership is required at all levels to advocate for this agenda, from the front line to the boardroom. It must form part of the values and delivery of the NHS in Wales in order to enable the necessary scale of intervention to be developed. MECC must therefore be embedded in organisational processes throughout the NHS.

MECC in Wales

MECC in Wales will have its maximum effect if delivered by staff of all NHS partner agencies, including local people and communities.

We want to help individuals build on their own health assets and co-produce their own health with the support of families, communities and professionals. This needs to include promoting and supporting the health of our own staff.

To encourage this, we want to create an environment in Wales where all workers are able to appropriately introduce ideas of lifestyle and behaviour change and motivate individuals to improve their own health and wellbeing. This will need the development of confidence and the use of skills in awareness, engagement and communication.

Fundamental Concepts of MECC

  • NHS Wales employs 70,000 staff in Wales, both clinical and non clinical, all of whom could promote health messages. The potential reach into our population is therefore significant. This number would increase markedly if employees of partner organisations are also included.
  • The opportunistic use of routine client/patient contact as a vehicle for delivering messages in response to identified prompts in an effective way.
  • Keeping it simple in terms of messages.
  • Staff empowerment.
  • People at different stages of behaviour change require different information and different approaches to delivering that information to more effectively support change.
  • The opportunities to deliver MECC within their role differ by professional group – the support needs to be tailored to that to maximise impact.


Copyright and kind permission for use of the MECC logo NHS Midlands, NHS Yorkshire & Humber for the MECC concept and Prevention and Lifestyle Behaviour Change A Competence Framework. Public Health England
and Health Education England, for resources on the MECC Evaluation Framework and e-learning resources. Also thanks to Cardiff & Vale University Health Board for MECC lifestyle icons.