Healthy life so important

With the flu bug around West Ham MP Lyn Brown makes a timely return to health matters this week This is the time of year when everyone seems to start coughing, sniffing and sneezing and I have had a nasty bout of flu that I haven t managed to shake off f

With the flu bug around West Ham MP Lyn Brown makes a timely return to health matters this week

This is the time of year when everyone seems to start coughing, sniffing and sneezing and I have had a nasty bout of flu that I haven't managed to shake off for three weeks.

On a recent flight to Munich, I had the luxury of a row of seats to myself as nobody would sit next to me after listening to my racking cough in the departure lounge - even sickness has its benefits sometimes, I suppose.

Though this is traditionally the period when we begin to pick up the winter viruses, like the annual Freshers Flu outbreak that hits practically every university; this year we must also be vigilant against the possibility of a second wave of Swine Flu infections.


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With this in mind, I was delighted to receive the Building a healthier Newham leaflet from our local Primary Care Trust outlining the continuing improvements in the quality and availability of services available to Newham residents.

For heart and circulatory disease, the PCT have introduced a free Health Check scheme.

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Those of you who have attended one of my coffee mornings recently will have had a free health MOT. This scheme is available across the whole Borough. It has been such a success that over 21,000 local people aged 40 to 74 have now been checked - with a number of serious medical problems such as very high blood pressure or possible diabetes being turned up in the process.

The health of our youngsters is also important and, working with the Council, the PCT has introduced the new Healthy School scheme, encouraging healthy activity across schools with ideas like breakfast clubs, physical activities and healthy living policies.

Over three quarters of Newham's schools are now signed up. Healthy, active lifestyles are something we should encourage and, with free school meals for all primary children, and the Olympics on its way, we have a fantastic opportunity to get healthier as a community.

In a Borough with such a young population, the care of the very youngest is crucial. Maternity services have received investment to increase the numbers of midwives in Newham and they are based in the new children's centres.

A new maternity unit will increase maternity and neonatal services and Newham has achieved one of the highest levels of ante-natal care in London, with over 75 per cent of pregnant women seeing their midwife or GP by 13 weeks.

Tackling cancer is, rightly, one of the local PCT's priorities and raising awareness about breast screening for women is vital. The earlier cancer is detected, the better our chances of beating it.

The PCT is doing more to make sure people are aware of the screening service. Every woman aged 50 to 70 is now being invited for breast screening every three years. I know from personal experience just how important these services are to saving lives.

I am sitting over this keyboard coughing, spluttering and feeling miserable so I wanted to write about something that would make me feel better and spread some cheer

These are just some of the good news stories from our local PCT and I hope many of you are already benefiting from these new schemes, but please contact me if you have concerns or suggestions about health services in Newham.

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