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Health check bus helps North Tyneside resident

Wednesday, 09 July, 2014
Health check bus helps North Tyneside resident

A mum from Cullercoats has praised Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust after getting on board the health check bus in North Shields.

Colleen Goble, a retired mum of two, was not concerned about her health, however, went on the health check bus in the summer with her husband and parents after calling into the supermarket. She was pleased she did when she discovered her cholesterol was high.

Colleen, 52, said: “I thought I was fit and healthy, as we eat healthily and I go walking regularly. So I was really surprised when they told me my parents were fine and it was me whose cholesterol was high.

“The nurse was fantastic, she spent a lot time with me explaining my results, and what I needed to do. She also gave me leaflets so I could find out more.”

Colleen was one of over 450 people who had free checks for blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index at one of the five health check bus events provided by Northumbria Healthcare in August. Information and advice to cut down on alcohol and quit smoking was also available.

Following her health check, Colleen was advised to go to her GP for further checks and she is now getting help to keep her cholesterol under control.

Colleen added: “It’s such a good idea to have health checks more widely available in places like supermarkets. Especially for people who are really busy as they can simply pop in on their way to the shops and get checked out.

“After I had my check, I booked an appointment with my GP, and I sent my son down to the health bus too. It’s better to help prevent illness by getting regular check-ups rather than waiting until things gets really bad.”

Too much cholesterol in the body causes coronary diseases such as angina, heart attack and stroke.

Barbara McElroy is one of the trust’s public health nurses who did Colleen’s health check. She said: “It’s great to be able to make health checks more readily available to North Tyneside residents. Having regular checks can help you to pick up early warning signs of health conditions like heart disease and strokes.

“It’s quick and easy and if like Colleen you find your cholesterol is high there is lots of information and support to help you keep it under control.

“Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet can help to reduce your cholesterol and other lifestyle changes can also make a big difference including regular exercise and quitting smoking. If you are worried about your blood pressure, cholesterol or have a health concern we encourage you to speak to your GP.”

During the health check bus, 63% of people tested were advised to see their GP for high blood pressure, 16% were referred for high body mass index, 7% for high cholesterol and 30% referred to their GP for a health check for over 40s. In addition 26% were referred to the local stop smoking service for smoking cessation support and 6% accessed specialist bowel cancer screening services.

Northumbria Healthcare worked in partnership with Pfizer Limited to offer local people a free health check on a specially-designed bus. The health bus travelled to five locations across the borough between 19 and 23 August bringing health screening services to local people.

Patrick Price, senior manager public health for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We wanted to take the health check bus out into the community to reach as many people as possible. We are really pleased so many people like Colleen came along to see the team and got the support they needed to help them to improve their health and wellbeing.”