Cumbria Crack

Successful day for community health check team

An event offering free health checks by a community group in Copeland, which wants to reduce the number of people having a stroke, saw more than 90 people with more than 10 per cent of them advised to have further monitoring and testing.

The Copeland Community Stroke Prevention Project is made up of: Rotary, the West Cumbrians’ Voice for Healthcare, the Stroke Association, NWAS, Healthwatch Cumbria, Public Health, pharmacies and the local NHS.

The group offered blood pressure and pulse testing at the Cumbrian Traders Day in St Nicholas Gardens in Whitehaven last week, and is planning more events this summer.

The next event will be at Distington Vintage Rally on Sunday July 7.

High blood pressure and atrial fibrillation – which can be picked up by checking for an irregular pulse – are known to significantly increase your chance of having a stroke, but can be treated relatively easily.

Rotarian Kevin Walsh has helped organise the event. He said: “It was a fantastic day with lots of people stopping to chat and have the free health tests. There are some people who will be getting more tests and lots of people who took away advice about how to take care of their own health. We are already planning more events.”

The group also shared advice on the things people can do to improve their own health, such as healthy eating, taking more exercise and stopping smoking which are key to reducing the chance of having a stroke.
The group saw:

  • 92 people who had blood pressure and/or pulse checks
  • Ages ranged from 19-80 years
  • 11 people were referred to their community pharmacy with home monitoring tested to provide a more detailed picture
  • 2 were checked by a GP on the day

Feedback included:

  • A thank you from one young man who had lost a close family member with heart problems but had been putting off getting tested
  • A business owner who has struggled to find the time to visit the GP who has been referred to the community pharmacy project.
  • There were also conversations about the importance of taking prescribed medications and several people welcomed the idea of home monitoring through our community pharmacy project to get a more rounded picture

Lynn McFarlane from Community Pharmacy Cumbria, said: “Our team had a really busy day and carried out lots of tests but also spent a lot of that time talking to people about their health and making them aware of other information that could be helpful.”

Jon Ward from the West Cumbrians’ Voice for Healthcare said: “I was very pleased to see so many people come to get checked at this event. The testing team were kept busy all day. The challenge for us now is to do more, and I am looking forward to the next events that we are planning.”

As many as 85 % of strokes could possibly be avoided by treating some risk factors and making positive health choices such as losing weight, taking more exercise. NICE Guidance supports this approach.

The group is grateful to Gerard Richardson for welcoming us to the Traders Day event in Whitehaven.

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