One Medicare, in conjunction with NHS Sheffield, has been praised for the innovative way it has delivered a cardiovascular screening programme to South Asian taxi drivers in Sheffield. The Marmot Review on health inequalities in the country, entitled 'Fair Society, Healthy Lives' has recognised the screening programme as an example of best practice.

The scheme, which provided cardiovascular screening for South Asian taxi drivers who had been identified as being at a high risk of developing heart disease, was delivered by One Medicare's Sheffield City GP Health Centre. The innovative way of marketing the screening included working with the Taxi Driver Association to identify 'health champions' who promoted the initiative to their fellow taxi drivers.

Dr Jeremy Wight, director of public health at NHS Sheffield, said: "I am delighted that this innovative work with a particular community has been recognised. Conventional approaches to putting over health promotion messages have often failed in the past to reach men, and South Asian men in particular. That is particularly unfortunate given that they have high levels of heart disease and diabetes. Developing new ways to put over the health messages, and help them take control of their own health, is really important. We must now try to extend this kind of approach to other communities."

A total of 142 drivers attended the screening which involved blood glucose and cholesterol tests, height, weight, body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure checks. Results were available instantly and advice was offered to help improve any areas of concern. Men who needed further investigation were offered the chance to see a GP as a walk-in patient at the Sheffield City GP Health Centre or their own GP.

Dr Daniel Albert, One Medicare's Local Medical Director for Sheffield, added: "We were delighted with the amount of people who took the chance to have the screening. We worked closely with the Taxi Driver Association to ensure that we reached the correct target audience and that we delivered the screening and a time and in a way that suited them.

"The old saying goes that 'prevention is better than cure' and that is certainly correct in this case. Cardiovascular disease can so often be avoided with some easy and unobtrusive changes to people's lives and behaviour. I am confident that with the advice provided at the screening many of the taxi drivers that attended will make small changes which will have great health benefits."

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