The county’s first-ever Be Well Bus was officially launched yesterday, and over the coming months will be journeying across east Suffolk offering support and advice to those who need some extra help with their health and wellbeing.
The official ribbon-cutting was performed by Ed Garratt OBE, Chief Executive, NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board (pictures below).
The Be Well Bus has its origins in the COVID pandemic when the introduction of a COVID vaccination bus had a huge positive impact on reaching those communities who do not access health care services in the traditional way.
The success of that project has led to the development of the Be Well Bus, which is a partnership between the NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board and the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Alliance with voluntary and community sector partners.
The focus will remain on reaching out to deprived communities across the patch such as the homeless, Gypsy & Roma travellers, migrants and those living financially challenged lives, as well as residents of rural localities.
As the project develops a wide range of health and care services aim to be provided from the bus, including NHS Health Checks, COVID and flu vaccinations, mental health support, financial advice, healthy living guidance and homelessness support.
Ed Garratt OBE, chief executive, NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board, says: “We’re so pleased to launch the Be Well Bus in east Suffolk to make access to health and services as easy possible for everyone in our community.
“We learned much from the COVID vaccination bus, and using that experience we have worked with our partners to develop a project that is truly focused on delivering equitable access to advice, signposting and health interventions.
“As well as working with local partner organisations we are keen to hear from local people on what sort of services they would like to see offered from the bus that will help them live long, happy and healthy lives.”
Andy Yacoub, Chief Executive, Healthwatch Suffolk, said: “We welcome this re-purposing of a valuable local service. Our teams have engaged communities alongside the bus and we have seen the benefit that it has brought to the delivery of the COVID vaccination programme. The continued focus on taking care and support to our most deprived communities remains critically important to ensuring equitable access to trusted care and support in our county.”
For more information on the bus email email@example.com