The very first Accrington Health Mela was held in the TOWN HALL on Saturday 5th. May 2018, 11.00 am – 4.00 pm.

Honoured guest: Professor John Middleton, President of the UK Faculty of Public Health.

The day’s event opened with a stimulating breakfast meeting for health and associated professionals focused on the importance of developing an integrated team approach to promoting the health and wellbeing of local communities. The meeting was chaired by Professor Romesh Gupta and addressed by Professor John Middleton. Also present was the Cllr. Mohammad Ayub, Deputy Mayor of Hyndburn. Professor Iqbal Singh of the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Chair of CESOP and Dr Paul Milne of UCLan expressed their views and ideas about the NHS. During the meeting, several other attendees also shared their experiences about the health care.

Following the meeting, spirited performances by the ukulele players from Accrington’s University of the Third Age and local group, Dance Syndrome, got the first Accrington Health Mela off to an all-singing – all-dancing start. Together they joined with Chief Guest Professor John Middleton, President of the UK Faculty of Public Health and Cllr. Mohammad Ayub, Deputy Mayor of Hyndburn, in opening the town’s fun-filled festival aimed at celebrating and promoting community health and wellbeing.

The constant stream of visitors, greeted on arrival by members of local Rotary Clubs, entered the Town Hall’s handsome ballroom and found it packed with stands, experts on-hand, all loaded with information dedicated to the promotion of good health. They looked over stalls provided by East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and a wide range of organisations from the NHS, local government and the education and voluntary sectors. This treasury of expertise and resources was a comprehensive affirmation of the local will to make Hyndburn a truly happy and healthy place to live.

Amongst the many attractions, the opportunity to take a free confidential health check proved popular. Visitors explained that the relaxed, informal atmosphere encouraged them to take part. BMI, blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels were measured, and friendly, expert counselling tailored to individuals provided. Mr. Zuber Mulla and Mark Stevens from Up & Active carried out the physiological measurements including height, weight and blood pressures measurements. Blood checks were performed by members of the ‘Blood Drop’ team, volunteers from Lancashire Teaching Hospitals.

The Health MOT sessions were a truly international affair with personalised health advice given by senior students from the School of Medicine of the University of Central Lancashire and by students from the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, currently guests of UCLAN after their St. Maarten’s Island accommodation was destroyed by hurricane Irma.

The volunteer students were full of praise for the event emphasising the importance they attached to learning how to communicate effectively about health issues outside the traditional surgery or hospital setting.

Results from the Health MOT were revealing. Of 43 individuals completing the checks, no fewer than 22, (51.2%) were referred to their GP for follow-up investigation.

Speaking as the health mela drew to a close, Romesh Gupta, OBE, Chair of the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing said, ‘It is a very great pleasure to see so many individuals and organisations coming together today to ensure the success of this, our first Health Mela in Accrington. My sincere thanks go to all those who have contributed to what I hope will be the first of many such events in East Lancashire. Health Melas have a vital role to play in developing a personal sense of responsibility for individual, family and community health which is vital to secure the future of the NHS and the results from the Health MOT alone show just how important it is to offer checks outside traditional clinical settings.”

Commenting on his experience of the day, Chief Guest, Professor John Middleton wrote, ‘I was delighted to be able to join the Accrington Health Mela on Saturday. I was impressed by the professionalism and commitment of the range of health services and community organisations who are working in Lancashire to improve the health of local people. The dance demonstration by Dance Syndrome was joyful and inspirational. The range of servicesworking for health, including Home improvement, the Fire and Rescue Service and Citizens Advice, showed just how many different people are serving our communities, keeping us healthy and caring for us all.’

This is what the medical students had to say about their experiences

Valerie Espinoza (AUCMED) “Health mela experience has improved my confidence and communication skills.”
Margaret Mooney (AUCMED) “Reading the books and learning are very different to when I was faced with addressing real issues raised by visitors undergoing health MOT.”
Manisha Kotay (AUCMED) “I had general awareness of risk factors of cardiovascular episodes but using the programme while counselling reality was eye opener. It will definitely improve my organisational skills.”
Robyn Brindle (UCLan student) “I enjoy prevention work and pear mentoring teaching the skills to new medical students.”

Bassam Al-jadir (UCLan student) ” I feel the health melas have given me opportunities to develop my leadership qualities”



Below is the selection of some of the photos.For more photos of the Accrington Health Mela please visit the link below:

These illustrations are free from copyright restrictions when used to promote the activities of NFHW.