The 2015 Preston Health Mela, 14th in the series, took place on Saturday in its exciting new location, the University of Central Lancashire’s Foster Building. The venue was brilliant and the whole day was buzzing.

Welcoming visitors to the breakfast meeting Professor Lynne Livesey, Pro Vice-Chancellor, said that this event represented just the start of an equally exciting new era of partnership between the University and the organisers, the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing associated with Rotary International. The meeting was addressed by Chief Guest Dr Lance Sandle, Vice-President of the Royal College of Pathologists who noted the importance of providing opportunities for the public to be involved in monitoring their own health and wellbeing.

The event was formally declared open jointly by the Mayor of Preston Mr Nick Pomfret and Dr Sandle. Mr Russell Hogarth was awarded the Fellowship of the NFHW for his contribution to NFHW.

The event attracted around 1500 visitors who had the opportunity to check out the information and advice available from more than 70 health related stalls representing NHS, local authority, voluntary and other organisations.

Central to the day’s offerings was a comprehensive range of health checks provided by the Blood Drop Team from LTHTR and Health Olympics. They proved to be a popular attraction with over 200 individuals taking the opportunity to have a ‘Health MOT’ including checks on blood sugar, cholesterol, BMI, hearing etc.

 Summary results of Health MOT

Total no registered: 182

Total no of consultation: 84 (46%)

Abnormal Result = 21 of which

Raised BG > 7.0 in subjects without DM = 6

Poor control of DM = 1

Raised BP (> 150/90) = 2

Raised cholesterol > 6 = 12

More than 52 hearing tests were carried out.

The Mela provided an excellent setting in which members of the public could meet with and learn about the work of local NHS related organisations. The Mela received first class support from the Lancashire Care Foundation Trust, the North West Ambulance Trust, the Greater Preston Clinical Commissioning Group representing local GPs and local ‘health watchdog’, Healthwatch Lancashire.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust provided a number of stalls and operated a coffee shop throughout the day where visitors could meet and talk to Trust Governors. Mr Stuart Heys, LTHTR Chairman, said:“This event is hugely important for local health organisations, and it enables us to engage with our local community on the services we provide and to forge stronger relationships.”

It was really good to see a whole range of new visitors and also young families with their children. Working on the principle that you can’t start too soon on the important task of developing personal responsibility for health and wellbeing, the Mela had many attractions focusing on children and young people who took part in quizzes and colouring competitions, made healthy drinks on the Smoothie Bike and met and visited an ambulance in company with North West Ambulance’s popular ‘Pandamedic’!

Almost 50 children entered the colouring competition. The Paediatric Nursing Students and the Teddy Bear Clinic Team were great. They involved the public and the children with so many activities, particularly the Health Mela Tree.We collected 60 health messages on the Health Mela Tree and 100 people entered the Eye Quiz at the Health and Safety stand.

It was heart-warming to see so many people in all age groups enjoying and learning so much about improving their health.

The Reiki Team provided Holistic Reiki taster sessions. As usual it was a very popular area and 21 individuals took advantage of it.

Speaking about the event, The Chief Guest Dr. Lance Sandle, said “These events represent much more than a chance to look inside healthcare provision: don’t make the mistake of regarding them as “open days”! They represent a chance for the public to both access and engage with services in a practical way that is of immediate value to their health. The 2015 Preston Health Mela had the theme of ‘Long Term Conditions in particular Obesity and Diabetes.’ Following my initial guest address about access to Point of Care Testing, I was shown the Mela facilty for the event which demonstrated exactly how it should be done. No wonder these events are both valued and popular.”

Here is the pictorial summary of the event.

(Words by Sarifa Kabir and Derek Ormerod. Photos by Abhay Vaidya & D Ormerod )