The Knackerd Chef Talks to the HealthHub

It’s fair to say the 2015 has passed us by and if you’re like me it could be a year to forget, never the less I digress, we’re still here and read this we will. I as you may know by now am a great advocate of eating fresh cooked food and choosing healthier options as and where we can, this is not to say that the odd chocolate bar or cookie gets passed up. The festive period is a time of great access, merriment and over eating. Pounds are piled on “just another mince pie” or “go on then I’ll have another glass I really shouldn’t”. I’m sure your words are still resonating in your head, I think I may have over done it on the red wine, I know it’s been a pretty busy few months so the festivities came as a welcome relief.

One of my great passions is staying fit and active, I’m nudging my mid-forties and can happily run a 10K in around fifty minutes depending on my fatigue levels. I try to run at least four times a week and most time I manage a 10K don’t ask me why, I’m just stupid enough to do it, but I decided to get myself back in shape,. Years of working around food and drink had taken its toll on me, once a healthy, glowing and relatively well-proportioned specimen I stood in front of a mirror one day, it hit me like the 9.30 to Victoria. I was fat and there was no one else to blame apart from myself, I used to be a very active and fit person, however I just became very lazy, water had been replaced by alcohol, apples and banana’s became burgers or whatever I was making at the time. Real ale was my downfall easily consuming multiple pints without regard for the damage it was doing to my body, moderation it was not. Towards the end of my time in the industry I realised that I needed to change, I knew just how hard it was going to be I had promised to make a change, become a better me.

It’s a New Year, some of us have made a promise, I tend not to use the word resolution for the New Year, and I say promise. A promise is commitment without any exceptions, after-all you wouldn’t promise your children or partner something and then not deliver on it. Running is something that will take you to the very edge of your physical limits, you’ve not done it for a while, the trainers go on through the gates of Brockwell Park you go, turn left, it will test you to the very boundaries of your physical capabilities, you may make funny noises, some may sound like a heifer giving birth, you may turn purple and perhaps you may pass out. If you don’t  manage far, walk and break your run in to manageable pieces, but please don’t give up. Remember why you’re doing what you are doing, maybe you have promised yourself to stop smoking, it’s easy with will power. It’s much  easier if you understand the damage it does to your body, I’m proud to say I have been free of the cigarettes for just over a year. Are you embarking on weight loss or healthy eating, maybe you’ve promised yourself that holiday you’ve always dreamt of this year, yes 2016 is going to be your year.

Your promise above all I’m sure is to be healthy and happy in the New Year.  I bet you didn’t know that there was a small private medical practice in Herne Hill, there is and very aptly named the HealthHub.

So I dropped in on The HealthHub located on Milkwood Road, run by Mike Dilkes and his business partner and wife Elizabeth, Mike is an (ENT) ear nose and throat specialist and a former top consultant at St  Bartholomew’s a post occupied in 1996. His reputation does proceed him somewhat, his list of achievements are enormous, too many to write,  moreover as Elizabeth interjects, not only a specialist he’s one of the most regarded Dr’s in the world and known as the leader in his field throughout the globe. He’s worked at all the top hospitals in the world and even a stint at the world famous Harley Street. They both share an unbridled passion for what they do and it reflects. Elizabeth is the focus on leadership and protocols in administration, they’re installing a fully paperless system something the NHS hasn’t managed to as of yet. A walk around the practice and it’s clear to see there is an attention to detail, Mike even introduces me to the cleaning cupboard, although silly I get it, you look in and everything is in its place, as it should be clean and tidy, attention to detail. There are two rooms primarily set aside for their specialist physiologist’s patients, they are identical, again I get why, people often visit to discuss and remedy issues that are physiologically challenging, changing rooms and different aesthetics can be troublesome, that’s my opinion, I’m sure there is a better explanation

 So I asked, in a nutshell what do you do?

"Lots of people ask us what we do and we could answer ‘We are a Poly Clinic’ and then as they glaze over we realise how out of touch with the regular needs of people the medical business can become. People want a medical opinion from somebody who knows more than they do. And since they have usually ‘Googled’ it that is often quite a lot. Patients don’t want to be messed around regarding appointment times, unsure diagnoses, delayed treatment and tests. They want a straightforward opinion, and referral on to the specialist or test that they need, with minimum delay and hassle.

We have a specialist and generalist workload. General work includes health screening, male wellness, cancer screening, to minor operations such as cysts, skin lumps and tags removal, we can even help with minor injuries that don’t require A&E, such as cuts, splinters, bruises or stitch removal.

We have ‘in house’ specialist consultants in Ear, Nose and Throat, Head and Neck, Neurology etc.  Our Consultants also work in Harley Street, but like our patients they live locally, so why travel?"

I’m led to a room and Mike explains this is where we administer our vaccines

What do you vaccinate against?

"The first group are usually children having vaccinations that either were not given by the NHS, or are unavailable from the NHS – in particular Chicken Pox and Meningitis Type B. These can also be given to adults if required, along with an additional chicken pox type vaccine (Varicella Zoster) for those worried about Shingles at a later age, and a broader range of Meningitis for teenagers.

However, we can do pretty much ANY vaccine you require and do offer a request service so if there is a vaccination you are after, please do not hesitate to give us a call and one of the lovely reception team will accommodate you.

Travel vaccines include Hepatitis A&B, Typhoid, Cholera, Rabies and Meningitis. We can also prescribe anti-malarials and give travel advice.

Vaccinations are given either in the leg (thigh) or upper arm, depending on preference and whether it is a subcutaneous or intramuscular injection, and the age of the patient."

It’s encouraging to learn that at the HealthHub they have defibrillators on standby, something that is common place in all airports but not on the high streets. They are offering full free training to shop traders and best of all they offer the very same free training to local residents, there’s even one located at Pullens in the square,  you’re in safe hands at the HealthHub. They raised the money for both these machines by selling branded mugs for £5, they actually raised enough money to buy two so they donated one, residents of Herne Hill this could be your chance not only to learn a new skill but potentially to save a life, something I will be taking advantage of in the new year.

More interesting than anything attitude is possibly the main driving factor at HealthHub. Firstly you can be the very best doctor on the planet however if you can’t either cycle to work or live outside a five mile radius and arrive via public transport they won’t employ your services, it is an incorporated idea that spreads through the company. They are aware of the environment and at all times try to be as green as possible, the travel arrangements are just one of a few caveats of employment, amongst the highest being attitude. You get the feeling that it’s money although it is a necessary need, the most important issue is the patient and the care they receive, of course it’s a private clinic and yes you have to pay but I get the impression that the money is only a by-product of what they have produced,

The focus in the practice is to bring high quality medical care at personable prices, Chicken Pox is a for children not the most pleasant condition but one that they treat with an immunization injection. It’s two simple injections, however firstly you need to know if you are immune or not, and this is where they differ greatly from  others. If you for instance to go to a leading private medical provider they would charge £200 just to see whether you have an immune status, at the HealthHub it’s a mere £50.  Mikes quite passionate about the cost of other practices.

Mike is a specialist in laser surgery of all kinds ,predominantly ENT. When the Care Quality Commission inspected the venue they were more than happy in fact they were overwhelmed at the effort that had  gone in to that ensuring everything is perfect

You can have your holiday vaccinations or even a BOTOX treatment, they also provide immediate same day access for minor injuries so there’s no four or five hour waits in A&E.

There is an overnight sleep apnea testing facility,  at the HealthHub they are finding their feet as they expand and learn more about the community around them, they are constantly evolving to not only add more valued services but to be the best and a recognised leader in their chosen fields

It’s not my normal food article this week, it’s about health and I hope that as you go into the new year you enjoy a healthy and trouble free 2016, it’s important to support our local businesses in Herne Hill. I for one may pop down and see if they can use some poly-filler on my laughter lines.

Happy New Year.