Published: 07 Jun 2012

Staff at Jennings Motor Group have been taking part in a Healthy Heart Check Workplace Screening initiative, organised by South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD) project, co-ordinated by Gareth Harding, is being run jointly by the four Tees Primary Care Trusts, including Stockton, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland, with the aim to reduce premature deaths from Cardio Vascular Disease and increase life expectancy.

CVD project co-ordinator, Gareth Harding, said; “The screening service we offer is an early warning system aimed at identifying any underlying CVD risk before it becomes a serious problem.”

When Colin Massey, sales manager, at Jennings Ford’s Cargo Fleet Lane super site in Middlesbrough, received a letter informing him about the Heart Check Screening available to staff, he thought it was an excellent opportunity for him and his colleagues to get the once over.

Because the test is carried out on a block booking basis within the workplace, Colin had to find a minimum of 15 members of staff who fitted relevant criteria to take the test.

Members of staff had to be aged between 40 and 74, have no history of cardiovascular disease (including Stroke, Diabetes, and Heart Disease) and not had a Healthy Heart Check within the last five years.

The number of staff at Jennings’ site in Midddlesbrough who volunteered for the test, exceeded the minimum total, but this wasn’t a problem for the NHS Trusts, who willingly accommodated the extra three members of staff who wanted to participate.

44-year-old, Colin, volunteered to be the first member of staff to undergo the test, which took only 20-30 minutes to complete and was carried out by a team of specialist nurses from the Primary Care Trusts.

Each screening, which is entirely free to employers, consists of a simple finger-prick cholesterol test, blood pressure and pulse readings, in addition to a BMI (body mass index) height and weight calculation.

Following completion of the tests, Colin, was taken through a FINDRISC lifestyle questionnaire, which detects people at risk of type 2 diabetes, and at the end of the assessment, was given a cardio-vascular disease risk score.

The results place the patient in one of three risk groups including low, medium or high.

Gareth Harding, went on to say; “The patient is not diagnosed with cardiovascular disease on the day, they are simply given an indication of their personal risk of developing one of the vascular diseases including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and type 2 diabetes within the next ten years.”

With consent, the patient’s GP is also informed of the results and if necessary, referrals to other NHS services are made.

Throughout the screening, Jennings’ staff received general health advice on how to maintain or improve their health, which they found informative and beneficial.

Staff were also given the opportunity to see a model of a clogged artery, which results from a build-up of a substance called plaque on the inner-walls of the arteries.

Colin Massey, sales manager at Jennings Ford’s Middlesbrough dealership said; “The Cardio Vascular Disease project is an excellent health initiative which has been set up by the Primary Care Trusts and is something my colleagues and I were more than willing to support with our participation.”

Colin added; “A simple and painless 20 to 30-minute test, which identifies those at risk of developing cardiovascular illness, could effectively save someone’s life.”

The successful screening at the Cargo Fleet dealership, resulted in a further 16 members of staff at the group’s Yarm Road site in Stockton, also taking part.

The Healthy Heart Check Workplace Screening Programme was launched in 2009 and started with only a small team of NHS nurses who carried out the checks. Today, the team consists of a nurse bank of over 30 specialist nurses performing assessments in workplaces spanning the entire Teesside area.

In the last two years, the NHS Trusts has screened over 5,000 individuals spanning dozens of businesses and community venues across Teesside.

Gareth Harding, concluded; “We have enjoyed successful screenings at a wide range of organisations, from local authority to chemical and process plants as well as large retail companies and schools and colleges. We have even helped groups of small businesses deliver the screening as part of a collaborative screening event.”

For more information about the Healthy Heart Check Workplace Screen Programme contact: Gareth Harding, CVD Project Co-ordinator at or visit

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