‘Fast and effective’ adapted weight management and stop smoking services praised by residents

Suffolk residents have praised the support, advice and lifeline they have received for weight management and stop smoking programmes during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 95% stating in a survey that they have been happy with the support they have received.

The services are provided by OneLife Suffolk, which is commissioned by Suffolk County Council to deliver an Integrated Healthy Lifestyle Service across the county. This includes Stop Smoking Clinics, Weight Management for Adults and Children and Get Help to Get Active which is aimed at encouraging those with lifelong conditions to take part in physical activity.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, OneLife staff have made over 11,000 calls to residents who have been identified that could be potentially experiencing high anxiety due to their health conditions. Health conditions that could put them at risk of further complications if they contracted Covid-19. These calls have often been unexpected by the recipients but hugely praised as it was the only contact some have received.

OneLife Suffolk Stop Smoking Clinics have been conducted via 1-2-1 telephone appointments, while weight management programmes have been delivered via Zoom video calls with additional 1-2-1 support for adults, families and children that need it most.

The Get Help to Get Active programme is still accessible and supported via online and postal resources, with regular phone calls from Active Lifestyle Practitioners.

The OneLife Suffolk team created a range of additional online resources to support people during the pandemic. These have included a series of podcasts and videos around mindfulness, motivation and eating healthily, whilst information sheets were created around managing emotions and looking after wellbeing while self-isolating.

Lisa Cox, Head of Service at OneLife Suffolk, said: ‘We’re delighted we were able to swiftly move our staff to work from home safely and adapt our services to support clients during COVID-19 lockdown, many of whom may have felt vulnerable in this challenging period.’

‘Since the lockdown commenced, I am proud our staff have made over 11,000 calls to ensure that those who are most in need can continue to benefit from our services and enjoy a regular friendly chat.’

With new evidence showing the links between obesity and the most severe cases of Covid-19 and the Government’s announcement about its new public health campaign, we hope many more residents will be able to join our life-changing programmes.’

A survey of over 100 clients commissioned by OneLife Suffolk has shown that the people it supports have been fully embracing its programmes during Covid-19, with 98% of clients rating the service as good or outstanding and finding it easy to access the adapted service.

OneLife Suffolk Adult Weight Loss Client said, ‘I actually think I have been more committed to attending the group via Zoom than I might have been if I had to attend in person. It feels more open and easier to talk. With another mentioning that the new adapted service is ‘Fast and Effective.’

Cllr James Reeder, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Prevention, said; ‘I would like to say a big thank you to all of the team at OneLife Suffolk who have swiftly adapted their services during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that these critical healthy lifestyle services for Suffolk residents have not only continued, but are thriving.’

‘Maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking can reduce the risk of developing long-term conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. The latest research also indicates that coronavirus symptoms can be less severe in those who do not smoke and have a healthy weight.’

OneLife Suffolk’s work during coronavirus was also praised by BBC Suffolk Radio when their presenter Mark Murphy awarded them with a ‘Thank you for making a difference during the Coronavirus outbreak’ award.