Headlines: December 2nd, 2008

Some of Birmingham’s older councillors will be putting themselves through a ‘Health MOT’ today. Male councillors over 40 will be leading by example by undergoing a series of tests in the run up to the festive season,

In a link between the council and the South Birmingham Primary Care Trust, three groups of health workers from the city’s Healthy Heart Workers, Heart MOT staff and Fit 4 Life teams will put the elected members through their paces. All the professionals work with men aged over 40 in Birmingham to encourage them to lead healthier lives.

The event has been co-ordinated by Councillor Sue Anderson, Birmingham’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Communities, who said, “Men are sometimes reluctant to be involved in their own health. The groups we have brought in to do the health checks work across Birmingham giving practical health advice. They show how small changes in our lifestyle choices can have a really positive outcome with health results.”

The health professionals who will be involved work under the auspices of the Birmingham Health and Wellbeing Partnership which has been established to reduce health inequalities across the city. It stages quarterly ‘Summit Meetings’ bringing together NHS Trusts, City Council departments, Third Sector organisations and representatives from neighbourhoods and communities, including user and carer groups and the Birmingham Local Involvement Network. Since the Partnership was created more than 9,000 men have been screened for cardiovascular disease, more than 2,000 have had their blood pressure tested by staff on a Health Check Bus and a further 6,000 have been screened by Lloyds Pharmacy who are partners in the scheme. Average male life expectancy in Birmingham has increased faster than the national average over the last two years.