18th Annual Preston Health Mela was held at the University of Central Lancashire, Foster Building, PR21 2HE on Saturday 6th April 2019.
Partnership has always been an ideal at the heart of the Preston Health Mela and it took on a special significance on Saturday as the chosen theme for the eighteenth annual event.
This year’s Mela, itself the product of an evolving partnership between the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), took place in the University’s welcoming Foster Building. Over 1000 visitors, often in family groups, joined the fun, meeting more than 60 stallholders and a team of health professionals offering on the spot Health MOT’s, information and advice.
The event was opened to the public by Professor Mayur Lakhani CBE, President of the Royal College of General Practitioners in the presence of Sir Mark Hendrick, MP for Preston, Professor Lynne Livesey, Joint Institutional Lead for UCLan, and Cllr. Trevor Hart, Mayor of Preston.
Guests found that, whether their interest was in ambulance services or eyesight, teeth or tonsils, it was easy to find answers to their questions from the friendly experts on hand. In the background the choir and dancers added their own cheerful note to the proceedings. Young visitors developed new caring skills in the ‘Teddy Bears’ Clinic, explored the mighty Inflatable Brain and pedalled away to produce their own nutritious drink on the ‘Smoothie Bike’! It was an exciting day out for the whole family.
Many individuals took the opportunity to undergo the variety of health checks on offer. 113 completed the core package in the ‘Health MOT’. Overall results showed that approaching 25% of those tested showed abnormalities in levels of blood pressure, blood glucose or cholesterol which indicated the need for further investigation.
Many other checks were completed on hearing, sight, oral health etc. and all the individuals involved in the tests received personal and confidential advice and counselling from friendly health professionals.
At the Breakfast Meeting for health and associated professionals which preceded the public event, Chief Guest Professor Lakhani congratulated the organisers for highlighting the significance of partnership in health-care. He identified a number of important changes taking place in general practice which would depend crucially on the development of new partnership working for their success. These included social prescribing and the adoption of digital technology.
Taking up this point, Professor Livesey emphasised the role UCLan was eager to play in these developments, not only in relation to health sciences but also more widely across IT, engineering and other disciplines.
Health MOT results
Total number of people who attended Health checks and had blood tests is 113. They recorded their ethnicity as
Of these, 101 individuals took the opportunity to have personal 1:1 health counselling. The results of these are
Total health check-up = 101
Abnormal= 23 (22.8%)
Raised BP (> 140/90) = 6 (5.9%)
Raised Cholesterol (> 6 mmol) = 16 (15.8%)
Raised glucose (>7.8 mmol) in people without diabetes = 4 (4%)
3 people had 2 abnormalities and 1 had all 3 abnormalities
Reflections on the event.
Summing up his experience, Professor Lakhani commented,
‘I want to congratulate the organisers of the Preston Health Mela for putting on an outstanding event. It is clear to me that Preston is leading the way in health and wellbeing and in creating a wide range of effective partnerships with its communities and institutions such as UCLan. Thanks also to all the many volunteers who made this a great success with much on offer and practical relevant content.’
Cllr Trevor Hart, Mayor of Preston added,
‘I was delighted to support the Health Mela event. Such a good informative and useful event that gets bigger and better every year. This Mela both informs, supports, provides practical help and insight to all who attend. Good key note speakers that were forward thinking followed by so many advice agencies and the free health check that gave instant results all made up an exceptional event. Congratulations to all that organised and hosted it.’
Professor Romesh Gupta, OBE, Chair of the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing concluded,
‘When our series of Health Melas began eighteen years ago, we believed that there was real positive energy, focused on the promotion of community wellbeing. that could be released by bringing together in the Health Mela, a mixture of NHS, voluntary and community organisations in a joyful and informal celebration of healthy living.
As each year has passed, we have seen this belief confirmed and amplified beyond our imagination.
My heartfelt thanks to all the organisations and individuals who have worked so hard with us over the years to achieve our aim of healthier and happier communities’
We look forward to many more years of developing partnership working’.
Photographs giving a flavour of the day can be found on the following link. They are free from copyright restrictions when used to support the work of NFHW.
Additional photographs by Ian Smith can be found on the website https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1qK8LzVZGSzP25ijX3H8xklJ9Jnfbvjry?usp=sharing