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Widnes Vikings help tackle NHS pressures

Widnes Vikings celebrated the vital work delivered by the NHS at their recent victory against Leigh Centurions.

The celebration marked the high point of a pioneering campaign by the Vikings and NHS Halton CCG, aimed at raising awareness of how people can take pressure off the NHS when they experience injuries or illnesses.

Over 100 representatives of local NHS services across the region took centre-stage at the game, which was televised by Sky Sports, including leading the Super League teams onto the field with a guard of honour. They also took part in a half-time lap of honour.

The event follows the Vikings teaming up with NHS Halton Clinical Commissioning Group to create a unique video series which creatively educates people on how to best use the NHS. By helping people know how to select the services that are appropriate to their need, the campaign aims to relieve pressures faced by key NHS services, such as Accident and Emergency departments. The video series was sponsored by Renova Developments, the landlord of Widnes Urgent Care Centre.

The series has received more than 100,000 views on social media in just three weeks, gaining coverage in regional and national media (watch BBC North-West and Sky Sports News). It was also named ‘Pick of the Week’ accolade by a website which celebrates the best of NHS innovation.

The campaign saw the Vikings squad take part in around 20 short features. These include members of the Vikings squad in Whiston Hospital’s A&E department encouraging viewers to ‘Beat the scrum at A&E’, as well as Vikings head coach Denis Betts giving his players a team talk on the ‘playing formation’ of the Halton’s NHS services.

James Rule, Chief Executive of Widnes Vikings, said: “The reception that the NHS staff members received at the game was phenomenal and a testament to the respect held for the National Health Service. The Vikings are very proud to work closely with NHS Halton CCG on a number of innovative projects and were delighted to have this opportunity to celebrate the vital work that they, and other NHS organisations, deliver.

“Our awareness-raising campaign has delivered phenomenal results – with more than 100,000 views and coverage in a host of local, regional and national media. This is just one example of the innovation and impact that the Vikings deliver in their local community.”

Dave Sweeney, Interim CEO of NHS Halton CCG, said: “The celebration of the NHS at the fixture was an unforgettable moment for everyone who took part. We were delighted with the response and would like to thank the Vikings for giving back to the NHS workers who give so much to their local community.”

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