The following is a transcript of chief guest Paul Buckley’s speech at the Preston Health Mela. The video below was produced by Lancashire One.

It’s been an honour to have been involved, albeit in a small way, with the Health Mela in the past. It’s a great concept – the idea of taking healthcare into the heart of the community. And that has the full support of the GMC. But to be able to be here today, to see for myself exactly how this initiative actually works, is a real pleasure, especially to be back in the north of England where I come from, although – I’d maybe better whisper this – it was the other side of the Pennines, in Bradford.

Paul Buckley, speaking at the pre-mela conferenceThe GMC, by the way, is fairly well known as the organistion that’s in the news when a doctor is ‘struck off’. But actually our most important role is in the area of medical education. We decide what medical students and trainee doctors need to learn, and we check that the medical schools and colleges are doing a good job.

That’s why it’s so great to see the Manchester medical students here, giving people the opportunity to MOT their health. This is hugely helpful for patients who may have hesitated going to the doctor. And it’s helpful for the students to be out in the communities they’ll soon be working in.

And this is the point – healthcare needs to be a two-way process. It’s not simply something that doctors do to patients. It’s something we all need to play a part in, and take responsibility for.

I’ve also been struck by the way this event links health and well-being. A few years ago the Government’s Chief Scientist published a report which set out the best evidence available on what promotes well being. We all know we should have five portions of fruit and veg a day for our physical health. Well this report had a ‘five a day’ for our well being. These are the five things:

Connect – With people around you
Be active – exercising makes us feel good
Take notice – be curious
Keep learning – try something new
Give – do something nice for a friend or stranger or your community.

The thing about this Mela is that it ticks all those boxes and more. That is why for me it’s such a great idea, why it’s going from strength to strength is its 12th year, and why it’s something that could be replicated in other cities.

Thank you and I hope you enjoy the day.