Hundreds more to receive free health check at community clinic in Newcastle

More than 700 people in Newcastle received help and support to lead happier and healthier lifestyles last year, thanks to a collaboration between Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University’s School of Pharmacy.

The Young@Heart drop-in clinic is located within the Grainger Market and is open to members of the local community between 9am and 3pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, during term time.  Following a break over the summer, it has now reopened and is set to welcome hundreds  more people from across the area.

At the clinic, pharmacy students (under supervision from a clinical lead) provide free health checks, such as blood pressure, glucose levels and cholesterol checks. Attendees are weighed and measured to calculate their body mass index and consulted about their dietary, smoking, alcohol consumption and activity levels.  The students also provide health and lifestyle advice based on the results and, if needed, signpost people to further support services.

The Young@Heart clinic is an innovative approach to student learning that offers invaluable experience to the next generation of Pharmacists studying at Newcastle University.  Students provide this service as part of their work-based placements in the undergraduate pharmacy program, which supports their training and also helps them to build the skills they will need to advise members of the public before they graduate.

The drop-in clinic also promotes interprofessional education by giving other students, for instance from medicine and sports and exercise programmes, the opportunity to practice essential skills, including communication and consultations with the public.

The space in the Grainger Market was provided by Newcastle City Council as a place for people to access the health clinics in a central location.

Research carried out on the clinic last year showed that people reported positively about their experience, including significant improvements in how informed, competent and motivated they felt towards making healthier lifestyle choices after the clinic consultation. Findings also showed that people appreciated the accessibility of the service, and of healthy lifestyle education.

Emily Green, 25 and from Newcastle, recently visited the drop in. She said: “I think the Community Clinic is great because it targets ordinary people in an everyday setting. It is an informal way to check your health and get lifestyle advice in a really accessible way – which takes away the pressures of having to attend a medical setting.”

Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University are part of Newcastle Health Innovation Partners (NHIP), the name given to our regional Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC). NHIP cultivates collaboration between its partners to deliver excellence in research, health education and patient care.

David Burn, NHIP Director added: “NHIP brings together partners in health and care to improve the physical and mental health of our local community and address health inequalities in our area. The collaboration between Newcastle University and Newcastle City Council is a great way of making health checks readily available for local people who may have been unable to access them in other ways. It is a good example of how we can focus on prevention to improve the health of our communities.”

Dr Hamde Nazar, Director of Education and Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice, at Newcastle University, said: “We are really proud that this initiative achieves two goals. One is that it provides a learning and training opportunity for undergraduate students which includes students from the medical and sports and exercise programmes. And two, it is an opportunity for students to contribute to the health and wellbeing of the local community. We are really keen to grow this offer through further development and innovation.”

Cllr Karen Kilgour, Deputy leader and Cabinet member for a Healthy, Caring City, Newcastle City Council said: “This is a great example of collaboration with partners in the city, supporting our residents to access services and to be as happy and healthy as possible. I am delighted by the success of the Young@Heart clinic. I am proud we are supporting Newcastle Pharmacy students with this invaluable experience, and providing people in the city with an additional resource for health advice.”

You can also find out more about the service with this video: Young@Heart Clinic | Newcastle University School of Pharmacy – YouTube

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