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NHS Greater Manchester Launches First Mobile Clinic

First Stop To Health bus in Piccadilly Gardens today

Published on March 15th 2012.

NHS Greater Manchester Launches First Mobile Clinic

A GROUND BREAKING approach to improving the health of Greater Manchester’s diverse population hit the streets today, on No Smoking Day.

NHS Greater Manchester launched the ‘First Stop’ Health Bus, a mobile venue targeting smokers and other residents in some of the most deprived communities across Greater Manchester, in Piccadilly Gardens.

The bus aims to improve public health in the region by reaching out to some of the most hard to reach communities.

“14 people a day die from smoking related illnessness in Greater Manchester”

NHS Greater Manchester, supported and co-funded by Pfizer Limited, is piloting this innovative service in a move that signifies a change in direction in health care delivery.

It is the first time the NHS has listened to residents and created a service specifically tailored to suit their needs.

Visitors to the bus can either hop on board or make an appointment to receive a variety of health interventions including having their blood pressure and pulse checked, their Body Mass Index measured as well as joining a stop smoking group.

Dr Peter Elton, Greater Manchester Director of Public Health for tobacco and cardiovascular disease, said: “Sadly too many of our residents die prematurely. Smoking is the UK’s biggest cause of premature death. Smoking increases the risk of developing a cardiovascular disease such as heart disease and stroke. In Greater Manchester, up to 6,000 people are affected by stroke each year and more than 5,000 people in Greater Manchester die of coronary heart disease.

“However, we know that smoking is one of the toughest habits to break, but we want to send the message to the smokers of Greater Manchester that they do not have to try and quit alone. On board the health bus there is a team of dedicated stop smoking health professionals who can support them through their quitting journey. Smokers are up to four times more likely to quit if they have support from a NHS Stop Smoking Service.

“There are many other factors that contribute to poor health such as diet, exercise and mental well being. We really had to think about a new way to engage with those who are most at risk of developing health problems. The First Stop Health Bus is designed to offer holistic healthcare at a convenient time and location."

When asked if a non-smoking day was enough to raise significant awareness on this issue of smoking-related disease, Elton said: “Absolutely not. We try and advertise and get press releases out all the time, but most of all we try to tell people not only of the dangers of smoking, but the fact that we can help them. There’s nicotine replacement therapy and various drugs that can help people give up smoking, so there are lots of ways we can help people quit.”

Jonathan Emms, Pfizer UK’s Managing Director, said: “This project is a great example of how industry and the NHS can work together to bring better health to people. The First Stop Health Bus takes services out into the heart of the community and engages smokers in their own environment, with an aim to improve access and reduce smoking prevalence across Greater Manchester.

The reason this is such a good partnership is because we are aligned on what the problem is. With 14 people a day dying from smoking related illnessess in Greater Manchester, we think that this is a really important issue to engage in, and it is in everybody’s great interest to address it.”

The bus, which will officially commence service from 10 April, will offer stop smoking support as well as other lifestyle services and will tour the ten Greater Manchester boroughs for 12 months.

The First Stop Health Bus will visit one district of Greater Manchester each day and will operate in eight or twelve week cycles.

It will spend one day a week in the same location to ensure a sustainable health care service for the local community is delivered.

The bus will be open between 12pm – 8pm Monday to Friday, and 10am – 4pm on Saturday.

To find out when the bus is in your area visit www.thefirststop.org.uk or if you would like some advice about quitting smoking contact the First Stop Health Bus on 0800 432 03 03 or text Bus with your name and number to 81066

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