Our time at Express Medicals

By Julia Griessler and Catharina Chalupa

We decided to apply for a marketing internship at Express Medicals as soon as we got the heads up that they were hiring. Our first day at Express Medicals was February, 19th and after 3 fantastic months we are now completing our internship in London.

It was great coming from University into such a dynamic team and putting into practise what we learned at into Express Medicals. The team were very welcoming, and the working environment at Express Medicals is incredibly good.

We took a tour around the business and were introduced the different departments. And even though we only worked part time, we still felt very welcomed and enjoyed meeting everyone.

Our roles

We worked in the Marketing & Sales department and were able to learn a lot, not just from our Commercial Manager Rory Evans, but from the whole team at Express Medicals.

Our tasks included analysing different Marketing Channels, including the Website, competitors pages, Social Media and so much more. Furthermore, our work on the Website and Blog has given us confidence with our own published work.

It wasn’t only great to work in the company, but it was also interesting to see the cause the company is working for.

We realised the importance of Occupational Health at our time here. Seeing first-hand how well-being assessments can improve motivation and foster productivity brings a healthy lifestyle.

To conclude…

We really appreciate the opportunity of working for the company and wish you all the best for the future.

Our working experience at Express Medicals was great. It taught us a lot about teamwork and real work experience. Thank you for the incredible experience to the entire Express medicals team.

Express Medicals is one of the UK’s leading independent occupational health companies with over 23 years’ experience. We provide medical testing, drug and alcohol testing and well-being and mental health services.
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Giving you fun fitness tips for optimum well-being

Fitness for Wellbeing

At Express Medicals we know the importance of keeping fit to improve your overall well-being. In support of #WorkoutsAndWellbeing we’re giving you fitness tips for optimum well-being to make fitness fun and enjoyable.

There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of exercising

Do what works for you and most of all what you ENJOY. This could be going for a run outside, trying out a new class, playing sport, resistance weight training in the gym or quick and easy home workouts. Enjoyment and convenience are key factors, if the exercise you do is both enjoyable and convenient you are most likely to stick with it.

For example, a home workout is quick and easy. You can play your own music, be completely comfortable and get everything completed in an hour! Sometimes this consistency of training at home can see better results than the gym.  

Remember your body is totally unique

Don’t compare yourself to friends as their body may excel in certain movements and yours will excel in others. You may see others lifting more, squatting more but it’s important not to match them. Focus on what works for you, realise your body is different and concentrate on exercises to improve weaker areas.

Mind muscle connection

It’s incredibly important not to push yourself too hard.  For example, by lifting too much weight could be putting strain on other areas. Therefore, when doing an exercise on your first few repetitions ask yourself whether the muscle you intend to work is doing the majority of the work load. This could lead to you picking up a lighter weight. This will see your weaker muscle groups strengthen and prevent your more dominant muscles taking over.

Perseverance

You may feel silly doing certain movements for the first time, but like anything the more you do it the better you become. For example, running on the spot raising your knees high and punching the air admittedly makes you feel like a bit of a lemon. However, the more you persevere the more comfortable you feel and soon it will become second nature.

Stay motivated

When you are lacking motivation to workout think about the positive endorphin rush you will feel after your exercise. ‘When endorphins are released in the body of a person, he or she experiences a feeling of bliss, a flow of euphoria’ (Holloway, 2019). 

For more information about Express Medical’s range of occupational health services, visit expressmedicals.co.uk

Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn andTwitter

🧘 Managing stress for a well-being 🧘

Managing stress for a well-being

Connect with those you care about

Ever find yourself saying ‘I didn’t have time’? Perhaps more often than you’d like…
We communicate every day with texts, email or social media, but still crave more meaningful connections.

Our first tip is to understand the importance of keeping in touch with your family, spending time with your children and your loved ones. Relationships that you have with your family provides a huge influence on your health including alleviating stress, helping with mental health illness, giving you energy and providing a sense of contentment like no other.

If you surround yourself with support, you can weather the bad times with less stress and add years to your life.


Get outside at every opportunity you can

Our next tip is whenever you can, push yourself to get outside into the fresh air. If the sun is shining take the kids out and go to the park, organise a picnic, visit a National Trust site and go for a walk. We spend lots of time sitting down, so to counter the effects of enforced immobility it’s a great to move around and get outside.

“There’s no question that cognition, and concentration are improved by minimal levels of physical activity,” says Dr Andrew Pipe, chief of the division of prevention and rehabilitation at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. “Walking at a pace where you can have a conversation with someone for 10 or 15 minutes every day can substantially improve your overall level of health.”

Get creative 

It’s time to get creative! Simply engaging in creative behaviours (even trendy colouring in books) improves your brain function, mental health, and physical health.

Did you know that the average person has about 60,000 thoughts in a day? Partaking in a creative act releases dopamine, a natural anti-depressant which helps reduce anxiety, depression and stress.

Activities such as drawing, writing, knitting, gardening, DIY and dancing are all included so why not think about a new hobby?

Overwhelmed? Get it down on paper

Writing has been proven to provide calm and order to a highly productive brain. We call it ‘habit stacking’. Simply categorising your to do list can help break down larger tasks and make them manageable. Block out a time each day in your calendar, say 2-3pm and batch tasks together. For example, use this time to go through your emails, or make some phone calls.

Lastly, make sure you play to your strengths – if you are more productive in the mornings use this time wisely to crack on with your priorities.


Focus on you and your concentration

It’s easy to get caught up in your colleagues printing disasters, or to attend that meeting instead of doing that task you said you’d do last week.

Our tip would be to try where possible to alleviate distractions and concentrate on the task at hand. It’ll keep you focused and motivated to keep going. Try and find a fun way of telling colleagues you’re ‘out of office’ and we don’t mean literally! Simple post it stickers with ‘in’ or ‘out’ politely tells your team you’re in the zone, and not to disturb.

Top tips for optimum health and wellbeing

If you’ve not already heard, this week is National Nutrition and Hydration Week. Here at Express Medicals, we aim to provide tips and tricks to keep you at your healthy best.

Did you know that in the UK alone, around 3 million people are at risk of malnutrition? That’s a staggering figure. So in order to prevent malnutrition and dehydration related illnesses and to ensure good health and well-being, we’re giving you advice to keep you tip-top.

What you can do:

  1. First and foremost, don’t skip brekky! Starting your day right with a nutritious breakfast kick-starts your metabolism. Furthermore, there are even studies suggesting it may be linked to weight loss! (ref).
  2. Choose wholegrain high fibre carbohydrates such as the humble porridge. Check here for ways to spruce up your morning oats. 
  3. Variety is the spice of life – taste the rainbow and add multiple colours to your diet such as a Buddha salad bowl – find a delicious recipe here
  4. Aim to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg each day.
  5. Fish of the day – try to eat at least two portions of fish each week, preferably at least one oily fish such as mackerel or salmon. Lastly, make sure it’s sustainably sourced!
  6. Cut down on your saturates and on salt –  Check nutrition labels for high fats and sugars and keep salt intake less than 6g per day.
  7. Keep active to maintain a healthy weight. Whether that’s taking a walk in your lunch-break, taking up a sport hobby or heading to the gym, it all contributes to that daily step count.

Last but not least, it is essential to drink water throughout your day. Aim to drink about 8-10 glasses or 1-2 litres if you’re drinking from a bottle.  Getting your daily dosage has been proven to increase brain power and boost your energy levels.  It promotes healthy weight management, flushes out toxins, improves your complexion, boosts your immune system and prevents pesky headaches.

Source: British Nutrition Foundation

What is the point of Point-of-Care Testing?

Point-of-care tests [PoCTs] are a rapid, simple way to screen for drugs.

They are ideal for use at the workplace, allowing employers to obtain results within a few minutes. In the meantime you can focus on deciding whether staff members should continue working or should be stood down.

How does it work?

PoCTs are straightforward to administer on-site by members of your own staff, working as trained collectors with no medical background. Express Medicals is expert at providing training to collectors, and giving you peace of mind about the quality of the results. We can train your staff onsite, offer you advice and help at one of our 15 clinics nationwide.

With PoCT kits, a rapid negative result means that the individual can go back to work, with minimal disruption to your business.

In the event of a positive / non-negative result however, the individual can be stood down while a further sample is sent to the laboratory for further confirmation. [This is referred to as legally defensible chain of custody testing].

Why work with us?

Express Medicals supplies reputable proprietary kits that can be securely stored at your site. Our company can help you review or draft drug & alcohol policies. Furthermore, our Customer Support team is always on hand if you have any queries. We can train your staff in the use of PoCTs and run both training courses for collectors or educational seminars for supervisors and senior management.

Furthermore, we have built up a vast experience of occupational drug & alcohol testing in the past 22 years and have developed effective processes to pass on this information to you and your staff.

We can supply you with PoCTs for use by your own collectors. Alternatively, we can supply our experienced collectors to carry out both point-of-care testing or the collection of samples, where appropriate. All our medical staff are up-to-date with the latest practices in the field of occupational drug testing.

Image result for express medicals drug and alcohol testing

For information and advice about both PoCTs [Point-of-Care Testing] and laboratory testing, please contact our Commercial Team on 020 7500 6900 or click here to view page.

We look forward to helping you soon.

Guaranteeing Your Chain of Custody

At Express Medicals, we know that the integrity of the chain of custody process is crucial. We have worked closely with Eurofins, one of the leading forensic labs, for many years now. At no time has there ever been an investigation regarding incorrect results being issued.

Eurofins Scientific is one of the global independent market leaders in certain testing and laboratory services for genomics, discovery pharmacology and forensics. Furthermore, the company provides advanced material sciences and supporting clinical studies.
In addition, Eurofins is a key emerging players in specialty clinical diagnostic testing in Europe and the USA. With over 45,000 staff in more than 650 laboratories across 45 countries, Eurofins offers a portfolio of over 150,000 analytical methods. These evaluate safety, identity, composition, authenticity, origin and purity of biological products. The Group objective is to provide its customers with high-quality services and innovative clinical diagnostics. Lastly, Eurofins is world-known for its accurate results as well as expert advice by its highly qualified staff.

DIY SOS by Hayley Lancefield

I was given the opportunity to go to a DIY SOS site with one of our occupational health technicians. We provided quick health checks to everyone who was interested in volunteering.

I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t too sure if anyone wanted to know their blood pressure reading, or what their glucose or cholesterol levels were. However, while we were still setting up people showed immediate interest. One of the presenters, Julian Perryman, came up and said: “It’s good that you have come onsite today as someone felt faint yesterday”.

After setting up he was the first to get a quick health check. Following him, people of all ages lined up since they never had their blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels taken. There were also a few people who were on blood pressure tablets. It was important for them to get the reassurance that their medication was working. Otherwise they would have needed to wait more than three weeks for a GP appointments.

Many of our patients were curious about their results and what they could do to get better readings. We saw about 50 people in total and Nick Knowles, another presenter, came for a health check towards the end. He spent some time with us and discussed the importance of people understanding the meaning of their results.

That day, I experienced a great community atmosphere and it was nice to see everyone interested and engaged in a good cause.

 

The Construction Toolkit That Could Save Lives


Health and well-being is a topical subject and a current in the construction industry. Through this article I would like to explain how National Grid tackled the issue of stress, using a new process I helped design.

It is essential for business and construction to avoid assuming men know what to do about stress levels. Another risk may include thinking men don’t want help. It all starts by talking about it. We don’t have to have all the answers but let’s begin and learn from it. If we don’t know what Construction workers want, let’s ask them and listen to what they say. It’s likely it won’t be much different to what the rest of us want or need. But if we ask them, they’ll know we care, and that’s what matters.

How National Grid took initiative

Construction workers within National Grid learned about site safety by Health & Safety Reps. The Reps had never received training in stress and mental health. So, National Grid felt the subject of anxiety hadn’t been discussed. Managers also struggled to support staff if they took time off for stress. The issue felt like the ‘elephant in the room,’ and they began a campaign to correct this. I helped design a toolkit that recognised stress early. It equipped managers with tools to approach a vulnerable employee. It also covered how to support them. The benefit of this was greater confidence when discussing the subject. It improved how easy it felt to talk about personal issues. It also increased their understanding of what people needed and helped.

Some of us are lucky enough to learn the tools we need to help us cope well in life. Loneliness, when working away from home or balancing work with home life, can be tough. So can be handling marital breakdown or losing someone we love. If we haven’t managed to deal with these or have them taught to us by parents, then we can feel ill-equipped. Communication is crucial and talking about our emotions can bring stability in our routine. Not talking can have significant effects on our health. Some of the time we ‘learn’ what is acceptable, or unacceptable in our behaviour from the habits we are surrounded by. If it is ‘negative’ to express our emotions, then we are likely to stay closed off. Another issue is that men often find it more challenging to talk about feelings than women. 

The difference of emotional state between the genders

Women experience emotions on both sides of their brains. They have many connections within the brain to the part of it responsible for language. It is much easier for women to express what they are feeling. Men still experience emotions but find it tougher to explain. For men, it can be much harder to find the right words. So, some men may choose not to speak about things, and for some, it may feel more as if they can’t. Others may use different coping mechanisms such as withdrawing or avoiding things. Some may channel their distress by taking exercise or team sports and seem to avoid talking. Because men do this, it doesn’t mean they want to, and it doesn’t mean someone may not be able to help. They may be well received were they to offer. The key to helping men is to provide help but in a way that appeals to them. To do that well keep the process simple.

Helping is much easier to do when you know someone well, such as a good friend. The question ‘how are you?’ isn’t coming from management and doesn’t feel threatening. It’s also easier to ask for help from a friend rather than a professional. So, National Grid implemented a toolkit. Reps knew to look out for someone they knew may be struggling with stress. They didn’t try to resolve the problem; they offered a helping hand of a friend.

The 4 symbols that represent what this toolkit looks like

The Buddy Toolkit

I developed better expertise with this process over time and revised it. I called it a Buddy toolkit or ‘looking out for your mates.’ I extended it beyond Health and Safety Reps to the workers whenever I introduced this. It was important workers didn’t have to look out for everyone they knew but watched out for their best mate. It was also important not to feel they had to fix how someone was feeling or make them feel better. All you do is watch out for your mate and check in with them. When you’ve asked how they are if they are unhappy and you think you can help offer your thoughts. Talk about when you’ve experienced something similar. If you don’t think you can help, direct them towards someone, you know who can. Whether that someone is on-site or off-site does not play a role. Make it your business to know what services are available then you’ll know you tried and they’ll feel valued. Keep in touch and check in again a few days later.

With the Buddy toolkit, you also pair people up within your project team. If someone is new to the team, a more experienced site worker would be better paired with them for a few weeks. That is so they can show the new person the ropes but also look out for them. Often, we are at our most isolated when lonely, and we don’t know anyone. That is a risk for mental health. It’s also the time when men are most likely to find out what is and isn’t ok in that culture. If they are new in, need help but don’t ask, the buddy system gives them someone they can approach.

We all need support in life, and this toolkit helps. What this achieves is simple; you show you care and they feel that. If they are going to reach out, then they’ll come to you. So, look, watch and ask how they are, if you see they aren’t themselves at any time.

Article by Sue Firth, Business Psychologist for Express Medicals


Health surveillance and hazard control in the workplace

Health surveillance is a process of on-going monitoring of employees to detect whether they’re working in circumstances that could be harmful.
Companies need to put health surveillance into place when hazards such as noise, manual handling, biological agents and other factors influence the workplace. However, employers sometimes wrongly consider surveillance as a method for preventing harmful situations. Even though this is a convenient approach, it can not avoid employee exposure to dangerous situations. Complete prevention of these serious situations, is the most appropriate way of controlling risks.
Moreover, health surveillance is considered part of health risk management and requires a systematic approach for early detection of diseases. Besides that, it gives employees a positive feeling when they know that an effective health control programme is in place.

Hierarchy of hazard control

The system is used in this industry to minimize or even eliminate exposure to hazards. The infographic below is used by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).