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Striking the balance between work and play

28th September 2016

Ian Lush, Chief Executive, Imperial College Healthcare Charity and Chair of Healthy Living Week steering group explains why Healthy Living Week is a great way of showing appreciation and giving something back.

Imperial College Healthcare Charity has supported its partner Trust for Healthy Living Week over the last three years, but this is the first time we have also been part of the exciting pan-London event, which sees NHS Trusts and their charities promote activities around physical and mental health to around 170,000 staff. We have been delighted to be at the centre of the organisation of the Week, alongside the Healthy London Partnership (HLP), and I have been proud to chair the steering group of HLP, Charities and Trusts.

Why is it so important to us as a charity to support Healthy Living Week?

Why is it so important to us as a charity to support Healthy Living Week? Firstly, there is a great deal of research which demonstrates the link between improved staff health and well-being and better care for patients, and improving patient experience is our number one priority.

Secondly, we support a range of activities to benefit the staff of our five hospitals, including education and training, recognition schemes, our staff arts club and the well-being programme, and the week is an important part of that mix. And finally we all know and appreciate how hard staff at all levels of the NHS work in their daily lives, and some of the real pressures and stress they encounter. Helping to put on a week of fun, entertaining and health-improving activities is a great way of showing our appreciation and giving something back to our colleagues.

So we will be getting people on to the ‘smoothie bikes’, where pedal power alone produces delicious fruit drinks; we will be providing taster sessions in our gyms and yoga classes; handing out information on lifestyle choices and ways to improve your physical and mental well-being; and of course serving the ever-popular ‘£1 curries’ with lots of veg thrown in!

We are also encouraging staff to take part in the pledge to help them live a healthier life — something they want to achieve over the next year. My own pledge is about running. I play lots of tennis and keep reasonably fit, but would like to build some extra stamina so I can be on top form in the final sets of long matches. Our local Parkrun is at Alexandra Palace and is a challenging, hilly 5k. My pledge is to join my wife, who runs it most weeks, and by September 2017 be able to run it in something under 30 minutes (and this from someone who mainly runs, albeit very fast, the distance from the baseline of a tennis court to the net!).

About the author

Ian Lush has been the Imperial College Healthcare Charity’s chief executive since December 2014. He brings a wealth of experience with him, working most recently as the chief executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) where he had been since 2003. His career has seen him play the viola with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in Reykjavik and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, before a successful eight years working as the marketing director for the Barbican Centre. Ian then became the managing director of the London Mozart Players in 1995 before joining the AHF.

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