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Love and Light

Region 6 - Free Walk-In Health Awareness Day: Farnborough

For the second year running, a Free Walk-In Health Awareness Day took place at Elles Hall Community Centre in Farnborough on 1st July 2012. This day was organised by the Farnborough centre devotees.

The aims were to provide free health checks and advice to anyone who needed it, to provide information on common health issues and screening programmes, and to spread awareness about various health conditions and community services being offered by the local NHS Trust and Rushmoor Council which people may not know how to access.

The day was officially opened by the Mayor of Rushmoor, Peter Crerar. He said that the event was very interesting and was particularly impressed with the efforts of the large number of volunteers who had offered their time to make the day a success. He had also taken the time to participate in several health checks.

Although the programme was open to all communities living within the area, it was the Ghurkha/Nepalese community which benefitted the most from our services. Many of the visitors could not speak English, which made it difficult for them to communicate their problems with their GPs and other healthcare agencies operating locally. There were volunteer interpreters on hand throughout the day assigned to each professional and thus they provided a valuable service.

In total we had 198 participants who visited, many of whom were between the ages of 60 and 75. The participants were invited to go through various checks such as blood pressure, blood sugar levels, BMI (Body Mass Index) and the health professionals were then able to give tailored advice on how to lead a healthier lifestyle or, when a potentially serious condition was detected, to refer them onto their GPs, Opticians or Dentists to get follow up checks/treatments. In total 60 referral letters were issued to participants relating to various conditions to be further investigated.

As well as the qualified nurses and healthcare assistants administering the tests, there were two GPs, two cardiologists, a gastroenterologist, three dentists and two optometrists providing consultations in their respective fields. All-in-all 986 consultations were given during the day.

At the same time, we worked closely with the local PCT - Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust so that health issues and services particular to the locality can be highlighted. At this event there were representatives from various services namely:

      Rushmoor Healthy Living providing information on Diabetes and their Diabetes Self-Help group;
    • NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, making people aware that everyone aged between 60 and 75 is offered a bowel cancer test every two years and explaining what to do when they receive a test kit in the post. Presentations were given to visitors in small groups throughout the day, which were translated in Nepalese;
    • Quit 4 Life sharing information on the services they offer to help people give up smoking;
    • Hampshire County Council Safeguarding Adults and the charity Day Break on support available for those suffering domestic abuse and;
    • Hampshire Trading Standards offering advice on how to avoid being subject to scams.
    • Everyone agreed that the day was a great success and there was a need to outreach to many people in the local community. There are plans to hold similar events every six months in the Farnborough area.

      Here are a few comments from our visitors:

      "I am very pleased and happy with check-up today. I like to thank all the workers."

      "I am very impressed with the doctors who did my check-up. Thank you to all of you."

      "This free health check-up programme is very useful for the old people. It needs to be continued. Thank you."