|Patients in Wigan Borough are helped to spring into a healthier lifestyle
GPs in Ashton, Leigh and Wigan are taking part in a new initiative to help their patients make small achievable steps to improve their health and wellbeing this spring.
The joint initiative between Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Trust (Bridgewater) and Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group will see GPs writing prescriptions for patients to access support from Bridgewater’s free NHS Health Trainer Service.
Health Trainers provide advice, motivation and support in GP surgeries and other community settings to anyone who lives and works in the borough. They help people develop a personal health plan, including support for up to 12 months, to achieve goals such as, eating healthier, cutting down on alcohol, quitting smoking, reducing stress levels and generally improving emotional health and wellbeing.
Andrea Sizer, Bridgewater’s Clinical Network Lead for Health and Wellbeing explains about the scheme:
“In 2011/12 the Health Trainer Service helped over 3,800 people in Ashton, Leigh and Wigan. We hope the new prescription scheme will help and encourage even more patients in the borough to access support to make a positive change to their lifestyle.
“After receiving a prescription from a GP, patients can arrange an appointment at a time, date and venue that is convenient for them.”
David Ashby from Wigan is one of the patients who has been helped by the service and as a result he has lost four stone. David admits he started putting weight on after he left his job as a plasterer to work in an office. He overindulged by drinking too much alcohol and eating too much unhealthy food. He said:
“I actually collapsed on holiday due to being overweight and dehydrated. My local GP advised me to go and see NHS Health Trainers.
“It was very easy for me to make an appointment to see the health trainer. I got a phone number and within a matter of minutes from coming out of the doctors I rang it up and got an appointment almost straight away.
“When I went to see the Health Trainer they were very knowledgeable and very understanding.”
David was given a personal health plan to moderate his alcohol intake and cut down on unhealthy foods. He adds:
“When I first started off on the scheme I was 18st 10lbs and I am now 14st 9lbs and still doing regular training every morning before I go to work.
“Without the health trainer and the NHS service being there to help me I don’t think I would have done it … it is a fantastic service.”
See a video of David and other patients discussing their experience of using a Health Trainer on the Bridgewater website at www.bridgewater.nhs.uk/ashtonleighwigan/healthtrainers/ or on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/BridgewaterNHS. You can sign up to access the Health Trainer Service in Ashton, Leigh and Wigan by calling 01942 481712.
A range of other lifestyle services are also available in Ashton Leigh and Wigan. These include ‘Lose Weight Feel Great’ who offer a range of sessions to help you lose weight and keep it off for good; ‘Trim Down Shape Up’ a programme that supports men to take charge of their health and fitness; and a range of physical activity opportunities, including the Active Living referral scheme and the outdoor programme. For more information call Lose Weight Feel Great on 01942 496496 or Active Living on 01942 488481.
Bridgewater is encouraging more people to have their say on local health services. Find out more about membership at www.bridgewater.nhs.uk