Project Plan

Project Background 

Many chronic illnesses can be prevented if people adopt healthier behaviours. The Making Every Contact Count (MECC) programme, developed by the Health Service Executive (HSE), aims to train all healthcare professionals to support patients to adopt healthy behaviours during routine healthcare contacts. Even small changes to behaviour, such as exercising more or eating a healthier diet, can make a real difference to people’s health and quality of life.


In this project the Health Behaviour Change Research Group and the HSE MECC Team are working collaboratively to develop an implementation strategy to optimise and scale up MECC.

What we will do

We will survey and interview healthcare professionals to find out what makes it easy or difficult for them to support patients in making changes to their health behaviours. We will interview patients to find out how they experience discussing health behaviours and receiving support to change their behaviour during routine healthcare contacts. We will review the international literature and combine this evidence with our research findings to develop a MECC implementation strategy to make the roll-out of the programme successful in Ireland.

What are MECC brief interventions?

MECC brief interventions use the 5As approach as a flexible framework to help health professionals have a conversation with patients about health behaviour change in relation to smoking, alcohol and drug use, physical activity and healthy eating.

The 5A’s framework involves the following steps:

Ask about the behaviour

Advise on the need for behaviour change

Assess readiness to change

Assist with

  • exploring benefits and barriers of change
  • identifying options for change
  • goal setting

Arrange referral to more intensive support if appropriate

Where can I find out more about the MECC programme?

The HSE MECC Framework outlines the development of the MECC health behaviour change programme in Ireland and the implementation plan.

You can find out more about the HSE Making Every Contact Count programme including training opportunities on the HSE website.

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Follow us on Twitter: @MakingMeccWork