Mobile health unit officially launches in the Western Isles

An innovative and highly effective means of taking healthcare screening and treatment services out into local communities in the Western Isles will be launched tomorrow (Wednesday) by Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison.

The NHS Western Isles ‘Well North Bus’ will be officially launched at Tolsta Community Hall with pupils attending from Tolsta School; the first school children in the Western Isles to benefit from emergency Heart Start life support training.

The pupils will provide a demonstration to Ms Robison of the vital emergency skills they have learnt through the Heart Start project, and Well North staff will also demonstrate point of care testing on board.

The Well North Bus was purchased earlier this year and Tolsta School pupils were invited to design graphics for the bus, as pupils had been involved with the Heart Start programme. Pupils were presented, by NHS Western Isles, with a climbing wall for their work; a prize relevant to a healthy lifestyle and also something the whole school could enjoy.

Chief Executive of NHS Western Isles Gordon Jamieson explained: “Improving the health and wellbeing of the population of the Western Isles faces significant challenges due to the remote and rural nature of the islands. NHS Western Isles previously used a mobile unit to deliver men’s health services and the Board recognised the benefits of this type of approach to screening.

“A new Well North Bus has now been purchased and decorated by Tolsta School pupils. We are delighted that the bus is proving to be extremely effective in our delivery of inequalities targeted cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes screening; enabling us to lead the way in Scotland in the early delivery of the government’s cardiovascular health check target.”

The Well North Service works in partnership with general practices to identify individuals who require a screen. The Well North staff provide a full CVD and diabetes screen to clients aged between 40 and 69 on the mobile unit. More than 6,000 of the target 8,000 clients have been screened to date.