Healthy Hearts Check For Cabbies Across The City

A successful screening programme to identify the city's Asian taxi drivers at risk of heart disease is now being rolled out to all Sheffield cabbies.

Heart disease currently affects over 4 million people in England and is the UK's biggest killer. Asian people are 50 per cent more likely to die prematurely of a heart attack and NHS Sheffield and One Medicare is keen to ensure all taxi drivers across the city are aware of how they can maintain a healthy heart.

NHS Sheffield and One Medicare are, for the first time, inviting all taxi drivers for health checks and is encouraging them to share the tips they learn with friends and family.

At the launch, on Monday 2nd November at the Sheffield City GP Health Centre on Broad Lane, a drop in session from 4pm-7pm will allow taxi drivers to get their health check which includes:

*Blood test for cholesterol and diabetes
*Taking blood pressure
*Weight, height and waist measurements
*Asking questions about family history
*Asking questions about lifestyle

All assessments and test results are free and confidential, the same as any visit to a nurse or doctor. After the assessment drivers will be offered advice on how to make lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of heart disease.

The taxi driver screening programme is part of the Department of Health's Pacesetters programme which aims to reduce health inequalities for patients and service users.

Permjeet Dhoot, Health Improvement Principal for NHS Sheffield, said:
"This programme has already screened over 80 of the city's Asian taxi drivers and has been a big success. It's a programme that's relevant to all taxi drivers so we've been keen to launch it more widely.

"The sedentary nature of taxi driving, shift patterns and eating on the go means it's vital to work with drivers to make them aware of the risks of heart disease.

"As taxi drivers these men are in contact with a wide range of Sheffield residents on a daily basis. NHS Sheffield identified them as a key group to support and develop ongoing training to improve their health and well being and reduce health inequalities across the city."

Chair of the Sheffield Taxi Trade Association, Hafeas Rehman, has been supporting the screening programme since it started in June 2009. He said: "I'll be the first person to be screened at the launch and it's great to see the NHS reaching out to taxi drivers as a group and realising the impact the way we work can have on our health."

Dr Phillip Earnshaw, Medical Director of One Medicare who operate the Sheffield City GP Health Centre, said: "We are delighted to be working with the public health team at NHS Sheffield on this project. Raising awareness of health risks and offering appropriate support and advice to members of the community is a key part of what the centre does. We look forward to welcoming taxi drivers to our screening events and encouraging them to improve their health."

For more details of when taxi drivers can book appointments for a health check over the coming weeks please call the centre on 0114 241 2700. The Sheffield City GP Health Centre is open 8.00am to 8.00pm seven days a week, 365 days a year offering NHS healthcare to any member of the public on a walk-in basis.

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