Transport employees offered health screening

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Stagecoach employees in the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw area are being offered potentially lifesaving screening checks as part of a new health and wellbeing initiative, inspired by a top boss’s late father.

Michelle Hargreaves, Managing Director of Stagecoach, lost her father to an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm in 2003 and jumped at the chance to offer her colleagues the opportunity to attend a simple ultrasound scan which can check for the condition.

The company is working with the AAA Screening Programme to hold sessions with their staff.

An AAA is a swelling of the main blood vessel in the body, the aorta, which weakens and expands. There are no symptoms and if left untreated the swelling can lead to a rupture and a serious risk of death from internal bleeding. Men in their 65th year are automatically invited by post to attend a screening clinic.

Michelle remembers: “It was the May Bank Holiday weekend and my parents had been staying with me; we had been doing normal things, out visiting places and making the most of the unexpected good weather. They left on the Tuesday morning for Oxfordshire to visit relatives in the mobile holiday home they had bought when my father retired. My father being 65 and my mother 60, they anticipated many years of travelling and making the most of the time they had together.

“My father telephoned to thank me for a wonderful weekend and they would speak to me later in the day. Approximately 15 minutes later I took a call from my mother to say she thought my father may have had a heart attack and could I make my way to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, a good hour’s drive away.”

On arriving at the John Radcliffe hospital, Michelle was given the devastating news that her father had passed away from an abdominal aortic aneurysm. He had no symptoms and there was no warning.

Michelle said: “We were shocked because he had not been ill, he just complained of backache but put it down to his age. My father had 8 months retirement if he had been scanned then maybe he and my mother could have had a few more years enjoying travelling and making memories.”

Michelle is keen to raise awareness of the condition and encourage Stagecoach employees to attend the life-saving screening. Any men over 65, working on their coaches, trains or offices in the area will be offered the quick, painless ultrasound scan on site, and others will be encouraged to take information back to their relatives.

Men aged over 65 who have not been screened can make an appointment with the screening team by contacting 01709 649100 or by emailing dbh-tr.dbhaaa@nhs.net.