Medical practice launches Parkrun team to help patients improve health

A STALYBRIDGE medical practice is cutting a dash to get its patients to the very best health by forming its own Parkrun team.

Lockside Medical Centre took part in their first Doctor/Patient park run

Lockside Medical Centre is encouraging patients to join medics on the 5km course at Stamford Park every Saturday.

The team’s debut was on Saturday, March 16 and it plans to take part in the popular event every week.

Four doctors, six patients and four members of staff took part in what was described as ‘the wettest Parkrun ever,’ with even ducks bathing in some of the puddles!

And while the benefits can be there for all to see, it is the ones that go unseen that may prove just as important.

“It’s four doctors, some staff and a lot of patients,” said Dr Richard Bircher of Lockside, who took part along with doctors Jan Vorhees and Mary O’Mara.

“Two patients sparked the idea. One who has been doing Parkrun recently and another who has got very fit recently too.

“Mental health is often overlooked alongside physical health. So we’re part of a drive about mental health and more than that. It’s about belonging and feeling good in one’s self, it’s about spiritual health too.”

The event may be called Parkrun but it is not essential to run all the way – plenty of people walk too.

“I used to be a keen runner myself,” added Dr Bircher. “But I’ve got an ankle problem, so I don’t do it so much now and this is a case of me getting back into it.

“Some of the staff would normally baulk at the idea of running but are giving it a go and some are very keen runners.”

Meet up near the boating lake for a 9am start if you want to take part.

Other surgeries at Staveleigh and Grosvenor take part but this is not the first thing that Lockside, based on Huddersfield Road, has brought in to help its patients.

It is one of the first six in Tameside to take part in the Health Champions scheme by running Meet and Make sessions.

Every Thursday from 1.45pm until 2.45pm, patients can get together for craft activities.

But there is a much more serious message behind the sessions, which started on January 24 at the medical centre on Huddersfield Road.

For they are part of a new ‘Collaborative Practice’ model being rolled out by the NHS, which is aimed at largely reducing the burden on local GPs.

Lockside has turned trailblazer by being one of the first half-dozen practices in the area to take part in it, and one of only about 130 in the country.

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