Bath & North East Somerset Council is offering licensed taxi drivers free NHS health checks during January 2017.
The Council’s Licensing team and Public Health team are working together to offer the 30-minute health checks – part of a national programme for 40 to 74-year-olds – which aim to help people understand their risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.
The health check includes measuring blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index as well as a discussion about lifestyle. Everyone will be given their results to take away with them and advice and information tailored to their needs. GLL, the Councils’ leisure provider, is also offering taxi drivers a free 3 day pass to use the local leisure centre.
Cllr Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North), Cabinet Member for Community Services, and chair of the Taxi Driver Forum for B&NES supports the initiative. He said: “We are pleased to support our local taxi drivers with this initiative. Driving a taxi is a sedentary and stressful job so this is a good opportunity for drivers to take time out to find out more about their health.
“This check will help with understanding what you can do to lower your risk of developing heart disease or diabetes, particularly if you have a family history of these conditions.”
Dr Bruce Laurence Director of Public Health said: “The majority of taxi drivers are men and we have found that men are less likely to take up the offer of health checks through the GP surgery. So by bringing the service out to them we hope to make it easier to have a check either during the working day or at the start or end of a shift.
“It’s not just for men though, women drivers are encouraged to come along as well. Long working hours and shift work patterns can be detrimental to health but armed with knowledge about cholesterol levels, blood pressure and BMI, taxi drivers will be able to take preventative action to reduce their risk of ill health later in life’.
The NHS Health Checks will be delivered by Banes Enhanced Medical Services + (BEMS+) who have been commissioned by Bath & North East Somerset Council to deliver the service in workplaces and local communities.
Andrew Smith, CEO of BEMS+ adds, “Our outreach service with businesses and local communities is a great way of getting more people checked out. Too often, we are all guilty of only taking action with our health when we think there is a problem, when in fact, we should be monitoring our general health all the time. We would encourage any local business or community organisation to get in touch so that we can organise Health Checks with your employees.”