Getting started at Brunswick Park
At Brunswick Park Medical Centre in Barnet, one of the early successful activities the champions have been involved in was around Self-Care Week, a national campaign aimed at supporting people to look after their health and their family’s health. Champions were available to talk to patients coming into the practice and to give them information about other support services and activities.
The champions have helped to raise awareness of services available in the community in other ways. They put together two folders full of useful information, one for adults and one for children and families. Both are kept in the reception area, so that any patients can access them.
The champions are currently running some regular activities, and there are also plans for other one-off events.
One of the champions, Janice Blinder, has been arranging a monthly walk around Oakhill Park, starting from the surgery. Having taken early retirement from the NHS, Janice felt that getting involved with the health champions’ work would be something helpful and interesting.
Janice says, “I have enjoyed being involved with the practice, talking to people in the reception area and having lovely chats, getting to know patients on the walks. Offering the walks to patients can encourage people to have a healthier lifestyle, as well as being an enjoyable way to meet other people.”
The champions have also started a ‘knit and natter’ group, which they are considering opening up to be a coffee morning so anyone can attend, with or without their knitting in hand.
The staff and champions have had some opportunities to have fun together, including decorating the Christmas tree in the reception area, and getting together for mince pies and carols.
For the practice, having champions available in reception is sometimes the most useful activity, particularly on busy days.
Jacqui Perfect, Practice Manager at Brunswick Park says, “Champions have been able to help with everyday activities in the practice, such as helping older patients to use the electronic check-in service and the blood pressure pod. There’s an elderly lady who comes to us fairly regularly, and sits in the waiting room. She’s on her own just now as her husband is in hospital and I often pass the time of day with her. I remember introducing a practice health champion to her and it was lovely to have them sitting talking together in the waiting room. There have been some lovely moments.”