With the New Year well underway, Specsavers in Stourbridge is celebrating its accreditation as a Healthy Living Optician.

As part of the new scheme being piloted across the region, the store now offers a range of free services to customers, including help with smoking cessation, alcohol screening and NHS Health Checks.

Healthy Living Opticians

Similar to the service provided by pharmacists, Healthy Living Opticians will improve the accessibility of these essential NHS services, particularly at times when other healthcare professionals are not available.

‘Regular sight tests can often uncover other health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, so we regularly direct customers to their GP or hospital where they can get more advice,’ said Jason Bridgewater, store director. ‘Becoming a Healthy Living Optician under this scheme means we can now provide expert support and advice around a host of common health issues.

‘Since we first opened our doors in the eighties, we’ve become a valued and trusted part of the community and we hope to build on that by promoting healthy living as a core activity to support our customers’ well-being.’

Having been fully trained, several members of the Specsavers team are equipped to offer these essential services – free of charge – to people living or working locally. Clinics will run at various times throughout the week, making it easier for local people to seek advice at times convenient for them.

Smoking cessation and alcohol screening

‘As part of our accreditation we can provide customers with support and advice on quitting smoking, as well as offering alcohol screening,’ continued Jason. ‘Many people have trouble quitting smoking, so it really helps to have somebody there to support you along the way.’

Seven specially trained advisors at Stourbridge Specsavers can offer confidential support for those customers looking to quit smoking in 2016. The team can also provide you with the treatment to help you quit, including carbon monoxide readings to monitor your levels and keep track of your progress.

As the rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions in the area is higher than average, advisors can also offer pro-active and confidential advice for customers looking to drink less, as well as sign-posting other local services.

NHS Health Checks

Customers can also pop into Specsavers for a free NHS Health Check which can help spot early signs of conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease, which are more common in over-40s. Including a discussion with a Specsavers advisor, the Health Check will measure your risk and provide you with a report to take home, with any concerns being automatically highlighted to your GP to follow up.

Jason added: ‘People aged between 40 and 74 are entitled to a free NHS Health Check which many people will naturally visit their GP for, but as this is something we now provide, we’ll be helping to take a little pressure off the NHS as well as making it more convenient for customers to get that vital check-up.’

The Healthy Living Optician scheme aims to create a preventative approach to healthcare delivery, with opticians such as Specsavers supporting general practice by providing more contact points at which people can receive advice and support to improve their health and well-being.

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