Women’s health and wellbeing events encourage self-care

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A series of Women’s Wellbeing events at community venues in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes is helping women of all ages to improve their physical and emotional wellbeing.

Each event, commissioned by Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board and hosted by local Healthwatch, sees up to two dozen exhibition stalls showcasing what each borough has to offer in areas ranging from maternity to menopause, safe management of long-term conditions to ageing well.  Organisations represented include NHS and local authority services, voluntary, community and charity services, and peer educators.

This approach has already seen events take place at Milton Keynes Hindu Association and at the Addison Centre in Kempston, Bedford.  Further events are being planned across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes, leading into the spring, with the next scheduled for Tuesday 30 January at Bury Park Community Centre in Luton.

Dr Sanhita Chakrabarti, deputy chief medical director and women’s health champion at Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said:

“I’m pleased that we have been able to work with our partners to bring together to focus on issues which affect women and their health.  There’s now a national strategy on women’s health, which was created because we know that women spend a significantly greater proportion of their lives in ill-health and disability than men do.

“It’s important for everyone in the NHS to work towards improving health outcomes for all women and girls, and enhancing the ways that the health and care system engages with and listens to women.

“The success of these first wellbeing events is very encouraging, and it shows there is a widespread appetite for health information in a relaxed format and non-clinical environments.  I have been delighted to see so many women attend the events so far, and I look forward to seeing attendances grow as word spreads.”

Emma Freda, chief executive officer of Healthwatch Bedford Borough, which presented the most recent event in Kempston, said:

“We are really keen to reach out to local women on health topics which most affect them, with a particular focus on planning for pregnancy and improving health outcomes.  We are also looking to expand our activity in other areas of women’s lifespan, including menopause and getting older, where we know there are gaps, especially for women from ethnic communities and those living in areas of deprivation.

“We were encouraged to see dozens of women attending from so many different communities to pick up advice, ask questions, have their blood pressure taken, or take part in our free yoga and relaxation taster sessions.  It was a very successful day, which has allowed lots of women to take more control of their health.  We’ll be organising our next event for the spring, and details will follow in due course.”

Organisations supporting last week’s Bedford event included Bedford Borough Council’s public health outreach and health protection teams, Bedfordshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the BEDOC menopause service, pharmacies, Mind BLMK, iCash Bedfordshire and Age UK Bedfordshire.  A broadly similar range of services is represented at each venue, subject to availability and clinical commitments.

“It’s important for everyone in the NHS to work towards improving health outcomes for all women and girls, and enhancing the ways that the health and care system engages with and listens to women.#

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