Industry first Heath Bus wins third national award

National Express UK Bus has won its third national award for creating a bus that makes its employees healthier - and even saves their lives.

At a recent Nursing Times Awards ceremony in London, the transport industry’s first Health Bus beat 850 other award entries to come out top in the Nursing in the Community category.

This latest award goes in the cabinet alongside two other national gongs for winning the Wellness category at the Employee Engagement Awards and Best Healthcare and Wellbeing Strategy of the Year at the Workplace Savings and Benefits Awards.

The Health Bus was created following comments in an annual employee survey which praised employee safety awareness but asked for similar support in health and wellbeing. 

Madi Pilgrim, HR Director for National Express UK Bus, who said: 

“The Health Bus was created because our engagement surveys showed excellent scores on safety but a need to do more on employees’ health and wellbeing. The feedback we had was that employees often found it hard to visit a doctor and this was exacerbated by working shifts. Our solution was to have a bus with a fully qualified nurse which visits all sites so we can look after after their wellbeing wherever and whenever they worked.

“The thing I’m most pleased about is that it has saved lives, particularly that of a driver diagnosed with acute and life-threatening undiagnosed diabetes. His doctor advised him that without our intervention he had only a matter of months to live. That’s when you know you’ve really made a difference.”

The single-decker, otherwise known as the “Health Buzz” was completely refitted by National Express engineers who adapted a redundant Mercedes bus into a modern, mobile health facility offering two consultation areas and a waiting room. It is staffed by a Health Bus co-ordinator and a fully trained nurse, Karen Harrison.

The bus travels round all National Express UK Bus garages across the West Midlands and Dundee, providing a full range of confidential health checks to employees that can talk to the nurse in complete confidence about any medical concerns. The comprehensive range of support available includes tests for eyesight, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, body mass index, lung capacity and cardiac health, using an ECG monitor. 

Almost 4,000 members of staff have already visited the Health Bus and the initiative has also encouraged drivers to suggest their own wellbeing ideas, including getting healthier canteen food choices, cycling to work, going running together and tracking down discounts at local gyms.

If a member of staff is referred to their GP or optician, they are given support from their manager and time off for follow-up visits. There are also information leaflets and advice available about a range of health topics.

Published 9th November 2016