Be Well’s open day empowers residents with numerical knowledge

Hundreds of locals flocked to Robin Park Leisure Centre on Saturday (3 February) for a complimentary ‘health MOT’ at Be Well Wigan’s latest health and wellbeing open day. NHS nurses provided blood pressure and cholesterol checks without the need for appointments, while Be Well health advisors were present to offer carbon monoxide screening and assistance in quitting smoking. Attendees also had the opportunity to determine their Body Mass Index (BMI), fat levels, and metabolic age using advanced body composition scanners. As a bonus, they received a free seven-day pass to the leisure centre to kickstart their journey towards improved health.

The event was initially promoted to specific demographics through targeted text messages from GP surgeries, but it was open to anyone who wished to take advantage of the available services. For some individuals, this initiative proved to be potentially life-saving. Councillor Danny Fletcher, the lead member for leisure and public health at Wigan Council, emphasized the importance of prioritizing health and wellbeing amidst busy daily lives. He stated that these open days aimed to provide residents with the necessary support, information, and advice at a convenient time and location.

Councillor Fletcher shared examples of the positive impact the health checks have had on attendees. One remarkable case involved an 80-year-old woman who typically couldn’t visit the doctors due to caring for her husband. However, she managed to attend the event, leaving her husband in the car for a few minutes. During her health check, nurses noticed an irregular pulse and promptly conducted an ECG that detected atrial fibrillation. Within 10 minutes, she had an appointment with an on-call GP and received medication on the same day. Another extraordinary instance involved a man who only dropped off his daughter for gymnastics but was immediately referred to A&E. Doctors discovered signs of an aortic bulge, a potentially life-threatening condition that requires treatment.

While not every case is as dramatic, having an understanding of one’s health numbers and the guidance to make healthier choices is of utmost importance. The health and wellbeing open day at Robin Park was part of a series of similar events held since last April. Additionally, the leisure centre hosts weekly clinics and specialized recovery sessions in collaboration with Wigan Borough Federated Healthcare and the Wigan Central and North Primary Care Network.

This forward-thinking partnership, which involves professional sports clubs Wigan Athletic and Wigan Warriors, has earned a nomination in the Transforming and Innovating Public Services category at the upcoming iNetwork Innovation Awards. The event on Saturday also received support from the SWAN (South Wigan Ashton North) and Hindley primary care networks. It wasn’t solely focused on physical health, as various council teams and community organizations were present to provide information and advice on a wide range of topics, including benefits, borrowing, domestic violence, and social isolation.

Notable attendees included Wigan Athletic Community Trust, Healthwatch Wigan and Leigh, Greater Manchester Mental Health, Wigan Parent Carer Forum, We Are With You, DIAS Domestic Violence Centre, and Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS). Councillor Chris Ready, the portfolio holder for communities and neighborhoods, expressed pride in the Be Well movement’s commitment to addressing health inequalities and prioritizing health and wellbeing throughout Wigan Borough. He highlighted the collaboration between the local NHS primary care networks and numerous community partners, all working towards the shared goal of supporting the people of Wigan Borough in leading healthier and happier lives.

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