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University Awarded Contract to Assess Firefighters' Fitness

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The University of Worcester has won a new contract to carry out fitness assessments for firefighters across Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire.

The contract was awarded by the Working Well Centre, part of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which began providing Occupational Health and Wellbeing services to Hereford and Worcester and Shropshire Fire and Rescue services in January this year.

The University’s McClelland Centre for Health and Wellbeing will lead the assessments, employing a new Exercise Physiologist to fulfil the contract.

The Physiologist will examine firefighters’ fitness levels, as well as provide advice on nutrition and stress management.

Howard Skerry, Manager at the McClelland Centre, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this NHS contract to carry out fitness assessments for the firefighters of the three counties. It is testament to services that we can offer, and the back-up available from our academic staff. Working with outside agencies is the way forward, and we see this as the first of many joint ventures with partners in a wide variety of sectors.”

Dr Ursula Ferriday, Consultant Occupational Health Physician for the Working Well Centre, added: “This is a wonderful opportunity for our Occupational Health doctors and nurses to work collaboratively with local public services and we are looking forward to the challenges ahead. This represents a truly joined up public sector approach and we are hoping that further combined working will be possible in the future.”

Fitness assessments will be carried out once a year for all operational staff.

Jackie Conway, Head of HR at Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are excited about the new partnership arrangements that have been put in place and the potential benefits they offer. Working with both the Working Well Centre and the McClelland Centre means that we have access to services aimed at improving the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, which is a key consideration for us.”

Situated in the newly restored Worcester Royal Infirmary building, the McClelland Centre offers a host of personal health and wellbeing services to students, staff and members of the public.

It also provides an environment where students studying for professional qualifications can get the hands-on practice and experience that they need to develop their skills.

There are a number of student-run clinics provided by Sports Therapy, Nutritional Therapy and Counselling students, as well as cardiac rehab classes running for patients who have suffered heart attacks, and an Alzheimer's Society session offering support to families.

To find out more about services at the McClelland Centre visit the website www.worcester.ac.uk , email wellbeing@worc.ac.uk or call 01905 542001.