Healthwatch Lancashire participated in the 2015 Preston Health Mela which took place on Saturday in its exciting new location, the University of Central Lancashire’s Foster Building.

The event attracted around 1500 visitors who had the opportunity to find out more about Healthwatch and take part in some short surveys along with being able to findinformation and advice available from more than 70 health related stalls representing NHS, local authority. voluntary and other organisations.

Visitors to the festival were welcomed by Professor Lynne Livesey, Pro Vice-Chancellor, marking 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.

Central to the day’s offerings was a comprehensive range of health checks. 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 and hearing. Chief Guest Dr Lance Sandle, Vice-President of the Royal College of Pathologists who opened the event, noted the importance of providing opportunities for the public to be involved in monitoring their own health and wellbeing.

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 Healthwatch Lancashire.

Neil Greaves, Healthwatch Lancashire Communications Manager, said: “The Preston Health Mela was a great opportunity to speak to members of the community, raise awareness of Healthwatch Lancashire and to listen to the views of  the people who use health and social care services in 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. 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.”

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’ !

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