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Fitness programme making a difference to staff at Queen’s Hospital

PUBLISHED: 18:03 21 June 2015 | UPDATED: 09:49 22 June 2015

Staff at Queen's Hospital, in Romford, enjoying fitness activities as part of a healthy living programme

Staff at Queen's Hospital, in Romford, enjoying fitness activities as part of a healthy living programme

Archant

A hospital foyer buzzes with activity, ropes weaving through the air and shoes tapping as skippers jump.

Mandy Pouditch and Martin Warmingn enjoying fitness activities as part of a healthy living programme at Queen's Hospital, in RomfordMandy Pouditch and Martin Warmingn enjoying fitness activities as part of a healthy living programme at Queen's Hospital, in Romford

This is the scene in Queen’s Hospital where fitness fun is most certainly had, whether it is through trying out some boxing gloves for size, or attempting to beat a colleague’s record on the plank exercise.

The Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, provides the activities for staff as part of a new scheme.

Running for the past six weeks, it is believed to be the first of its kind in the NHS.

Personal trainer Tom Harris, 26, is working with 60 trust employees, including some at Queen’s, in Rom Valley Way. Romford.

Patrick Theoung and Sharon McLoughlin  enjoying fitness activities as part of a healthy living programme at Queen's Hospital, in RomfordPatrick Theoung and Sharon McLoughlin enjoying fitness activities as part of a healthy living programme at Queen's Hospital, in Romford

He said: “I was a personal trainer at a club in Essex and one of my clients was Nikki Loncke, a nurse at the hospital.

“She lost 11 stone in a year.

“I was then asked if I could do something here.”

Tom, who has been a personal trainer for three years, creates tailored eating and exercise plans for the staff, who also enjoy fitness classes and wellbeing initiatives.

Personal trainer Tom Harris, who is helping to run a fitness initiative at Queen's Hospital, in RomfordPersonal trainer Tom Harris, who is helping to run a fitness initiative at Queen's Hospital, in Romford

Some departments are even going head-to-head to see who can be the most successful, using it as a form of motivation.

Tom, from Canvey Island, said: “It is going well. It is simple to follow and very effective.

“The staff can do it however they like and whenever they like – it is personalised.

“It can be hard for them to sustain fitness plans, but this fits in with their time constraints.”

Staff at Queen's Hospital, in Romford, who are enjoying fitness activities as part of a healthy living programmeStaff at Queen's Hospital, in Romford, who are enjoying fitness activities as part of a healthy living programme

The programme, which has seen all of its participants lose weight, educates them on making healthy choices, as well what they should eat at different times of the day.

Tom said: “People can be set in their ways, like thinking breakfast is cereal and lunch is a sandwich and a bag of crisps.

“This is educational and is designed to change their lifestyles and get them feeling healthy.

“You can have health professionals with the onset of type 2 diabetes telling someone in the same situation that they need to lose weight.

Vicky Panayi taking on the plank challenge at Queen's Hospital, in Romford, as part of a fitness initiativeVicky Panayi taking on the plank challenge at Queen's Hospital, in Romford, as part of a fitness initiative

“But they need to lead as an example.”

The personal trainer said the highlight of his role is seeing the staff’s hard work pay off.

“Seeing people change, especially those such as Nikki, that is where I get my job satisfaction.”

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Nikki Loncke and her daughter Bella, two, at Queen's Hospital, in Romford. Nurse Nikki has lost 11 stone with the help of personal trainer Tom HarrisNikki Loncke and her daughter Bella, two, at Queen's Hospital, in Romford. Nurse Nikki has lost 11 stone with the help of personal trainer Tom Harris

Nikki, 40, who lives in Wickford, Essex, said: “Tom had been training a friend of mine and she paid for him for a whole year and more or less said to me I didn’t really have a choice. I didn’t want to!

“For the first session we were meant to meet at Canvey and I said I couldn’t, I have got three children [Bella, two, Harry, 13, and Tilly, 19].

“I felt like I was making up excuses!

“Tom said he would just come to me; he came to my house so I didn’t have a choice.

Charlotte Pemble  enjoying fitness activities as part of a healthy living programme at Queen's Hospital, in RomfordCharlotte Pemble enjoying fitness activities as part of a healthy living programme at Queen's Hospital, in Romford

“For the first session we did really simple things like punching and lunges.

“The hardest things were at the park, one day we did some tricep dips on a bench and I did about three.

“The eating programme is easy, you are always eating. I was about a size 26 and am now a 10. It feels good.

“I have worked here for 16 years in neurointensive care. As nurses we are busy and work long shifts, but Tom offers the support to make you break your habits, he is brilliant.

“I pride myself on being a good mum and I can now run around with my children more.”


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