On the road to a healthy lifestyle

National Express West Midlands has won a national employer award for its innovative - and life-saving - Health Bus.

The bus operator was given the British Quality Foundation excellence award for employee engagement this month. The National Express Health Bus is a mobile nurse’s surgery that goes round all ten West Midlands bus depots for the 5,500 staff to visit while they’re at work.

A team from National Express West Midlands proudly collected their trophy at a central London event in front of the Princess Royal.

National Express HR Director Madi Pilgrim said:

“I’m so pleased that our Health Bus has won this excellence award.

“The Health Bus grew out of something our employees asked for in a staff survey a few years ago.

“Working shifts and being out on the road at all times of day and night can make it hard for our staff to get to see health professionals. But since we built the Health Bus, it’s had nearly 6,000 visits from our employees.”

The Health Bus is a retired single decker that was refitted by National Express West Midlands employees into two private consultation rooms and a waiting room.

National Express provides a co-ordinator to promote the facility to staff and handle bookings. And a qualified Occupational Health Nurse provides confidential testing and advice on all sorts of health matters, including: 

  • eyesight testing
  • body mass index
  • ECG reading
  • cholesterol testing
  • blood sugar levels
  • lung capacity
  • blood pressure

Where necessary, the nurse can refer people to GPs or opticians.

National Express West Midlands workers have welcomed the Health Bus. They said:

“Amazing - just what I need. Can't always get to a doctor.”

“Thanks for bringing this to the night team - we are the forgotten workers.”

The bus has improved employees’ health, from inspiring people to eat better and take more exercise to saving lives by identifying risk factors that had been hidden.

As an example, on a drop-in visit to the Health Bus, Birmingham bus driver Roy Spriggs found out that his blood pressure and sugar levels were dangerously high. When he went to his GP, as advised by the Health Bus nurse, the doctor confirmed that the Health Bus had provided a life-changing experience that will help him live longer. Roy is now receiving treatment and is safely back on the road again. 

Another driver, Jim Gordon, discovered high levels of PSA, an early indicator of prostate cancer. After treatment, Jim says those levels have now dropped to negligible.

Madi Pilgrim adds:

“Once identified, these potentially life-threatening conditions can easily be treated with the support of a GP. Giving National Express West Midlands employees such valuable medical information at the right time means that they can continue working safely with the right treatment for the right result.” 

And the British Quality Foundation judging panel said:

“The Health Bus project demonstrates that National Express West Midlands is an organisation that harnesses the talents and creativity of its people to make the organisation more productive and a better, safer place to work.”

Published 28th March 2018