Background: The Counterweight Programme provides an evidence based and effective approach for weight management in routine primary care. Uptake of the programme has been variable for practices and patients. Aim. To explore key barriers and facilitators of practice and patient engagement in the Counterweight Programme and to describe key strategies used to address barriers in the wider implementation of this weight management programme in UK primary care.
Methods: All seven weight management advisers participated in a focus group. In-depth interviews were conducted with purposeful samples of GPs (n = 7) and practice nurses (n = 15) from 11 practices out of the 65 participating in the programme. A total of 37 patients participated through a mixture of in-depth interviews (n = 18) and three focus groups. Interviews and focus groups were analysed for key themes that emerged.
Results: Engagement of practice staff was influenced by clinicians' beliefs and attitudes, factors relating to the way the programme was initiated and implemented, the programme content and organizational/contextual factors. Patient engagement was influenced by practice endorsement of the programme, clear understanding of programme goals, structured proactive follow-up and perception of positive outcomes.
Conclusions: Having a clear understanding of programme goals and expectations, enhancing self-efficacy in weight management and providing proactive follow-up is important for engaging both practices and patients. The widespread integration of weight management programmes into routine primary care is likely to require supportive public policy.